Hawaii considers raising legal smoking age to 100 years old

February 05, 2019

Hawaii is considering raising the minimum age to legally buy cigarettes to 100 years old.

The proposed law would effectively amount to a cigarette ban on the US island by 2024.

Hawaii already has some of the toughest laws on cigarette sales, but Democrat politician Richard Creagan - who is a doctor - believes more needs to be done to ban "the deadliest artefact in human history".

He told the Hawaii Tribune-Herald newspaper: "Basically, 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. And, it is."

Under current laws, people in Hawaii must be 21 years old to buy cigarettes.

Mr Creagan is proposing raising the cigarette-buying age to 30 by next year, 40 in 2021, 50 in 2022 and 60 in 2023.

By 2024, the minimum age would be 100.

The politician - who is a former smoker - said the bill is structured to withstand any legal challenge.

"The state is obliged to protect the public's health," he added.

"We don't allow people free access to opioids, for instance, or any prescription drugs," he added.

"This is more lethal, more dangerous than any prescription drug, and it is more addicting."

Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the US, accounting for nearly half a million deaths every year, according to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.

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