You may soon have a hard time buying cigarettes in Hawaii — that is, assuming you are less than 100 years old.
A new bill by Democrat Richard Creagan seeks to dramatically raise the legal smoking age by 2024. The state currently has the highest smoking age in the country at 21. Under the proposed bill,the smoking age should go up to 30 in 2020, 40 in 2021, 50 in 2022, 60 in 2023 and finally, in 2024, people would need to be 100 years old to buy cigarettes. And frankly, if you’re 100, you’ve earned the right to do pretty much whatever you want.
Creagan knows a lot about the issue: Before he got into politics, he was a physician and has called the cigarette “the deadliest artifact in human history” adding they are “highly addictive” and “highly lethal.” The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention agrees, citing smoking as the top cause of preventable disease and death in America. And Creagan argues that the government should be regulating a substance this harmful more strictly. “We don’t allow people free access to opioids, for instance, or any prescription drugs,” he said.
Sadly, vaping—as well as chewing tobacco and cigars—aren’t included in Creagan’s bill. The National Cancer Institute does warn that “all tobacco products are harmful and cause cancer.”
Experts expect the bill to face strong opposition from the tobacco industry.