Hawaii Lawmakers Introducing Bill That Could Ban Cigarette Sales Completely

A pile of un-smoked cigarettes
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Most nonsmokers find those who insist on smoking in public places extremely irritating. It results in those who choose not to smoke putting their lives at risk by breathing in second-hand smoke and leaving them smelling like an ashtray as well. This is not only a problem for complete strangers who have to walk past or through clouds of smoke, but also for the family and children of smokers.

Hawaii, which already has the strictest rules regarding the sale of cigarettes in the U.S., is now looking to clamp down on their laws even more, reports the Hill. State House member Representative Richard Creagan (D) is planning to introduce a bill that will increase the minimum smoking age in the state incrementally, effectively banning it completely within the next few years.

The bill proposes increasing the smoking age to “30 in 2020, 40 in 2021, 50 in 2022, 60 in 2023 and 100 in 2024.” The bill would mean that in less than four years, most people won’t be able to purchase cigarettes and would effectively outlaw it completely in the next five.

Currently, an individual has to be at least 21 to legally buy and smoke cigarettes.

Creagan argued that the reason behind the bill is that he feels it is the administration’s responsibility to “protect the public’s health.”

“We essentially have a group who are heavily addicted — in my view, enslaved by a ridiculously bad industry — which has enslaved them by designing a cigarette that is highly addictive, knowing that it highly lethal,” Deagan said. “And, it is. We, as legislators, have a duty to do things to save people’s lives. If we don’t ban cigarettes, we are killing people.”

House Bill 1509, as it has been named, passed the first reading last week, and a hearing is scheduled for this week for the House to look it over.

Other measures that have also been taken in Hawaii to bring down the number of smokers include the highest tax on cigarettes in the country at $3.2o per pack. As a result, only 13 percent of adults in Hawaii are smokers, compared to the national average of 17 percent.

Smoking zones in Hawaii are also severely limited in comparison to those on the mainland.

Creagan himself is a former smoker and has supported all sorts of measures to help decrease the number of smokers in his state in the hopes of increasing public health.