It is now illegal to smoke in Hawaii if you’re not 21, as new smoking laws that raise the smoking age to 21 have came into effect Jan. 1. The new rules, which were signed off on June 19, 2015 by Gov. David Inge, makes Hawaii the first U.S. state to up the legal smoking age from 18 to 21.
The new smoking legislation also puts a ban on the sale of electronic cigarettes to people under 21 and bars the use of e-cigs in smoke-free areas.
Hawaii’s head of the health department recently said that the state was taking great pride in being the forefront of the U.S.A. in the battle against smoking. Plus, the new measure is designed to help Hawaii preserve its status of one of the healthiest states in the nation.
An official report issued by the state health department shows that 95 percent of adults across the U.S. take up smoking before they reach the age of 21. Moreover, data also show that while smoking is on a downward trend among teens and young adults, e-cigarette use is surging.
For instance, on Hawaii’s school grounds 22 percent of students said that they have tried e-cigarettes at least once in 2014. By contrast, only five percent of students made a similar statement five years ago. This means that the increase was over 340 percent between 2011 and 2014.
According to the new smoking rules, anyone that sells any type of cigarettes or tobacco products to people that are under 21 risks fines of up to $2,000. Furthermore, people that are not 21 years old yet but they buy those products would be also fined and forced to do community service. Fines for minors, however, are a lot milder – between $10 and $50.
Still, until April 1, there will be no fines since people need to get accustomed with the new rules. There would be only warnings.
The U.S. Navy, Marine Corps, and U.S. Army said that they back the new rules in Hawaii. But the announcement was met with criticism, with critics saying that people who are considered old enough to serve in the army and die for their country should be allowed to make the decision on whether they should smoke or not.
The Navy said that a smoking ban among sailors is crucial to keep them ready and fit for their missions. Plus, the move saves them a lot of cash, too.
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