Hawaii lawmaker introduces bill to eventually ban cigarette sales in state

Hawaii lawmaker introduces bill to eventually ban cigarette sales in state

A Hawaii state lawmaker has introduced a bill intended to effectively ban cigarette sales statewide.

State House member Rep. Richard Creagan’s (D) bill would raise the minimum smoking age incrementally each year to 30 in 2020, 40 in 2021, 50 in 2022, 60 in 2023 and 100 in 2024.

The current legal smoking age in Hawaii is 21.

Creagan told the Hawaii Tribune-Herald that he thinks the state is “obliged to protect the public’s health” through stricter regulations on cigarettes.

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“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,” he said. “And, it is.”

The paper reported Sunday that the state’s House Health Committee will hold a hearing on the proposal this week.

The new age limits would not apply to electronic smoking devices, cigars or chewing tobacco. The Food and Drug Administration has threatened to remove e-cigarettes from U.S. markets altogether due to significantly increased youth smoking rates.

Creagan, a physician and a former smoker, also supports legalization of marijuana, according to the paper.

“We, as legislators, have a duty to do things to save people’s lives,” he said. “If we don’t ban cigarettes, we are killing people.”