Hawaii Considers State-wide Cigarette Ban

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Hawaii Considers State-wide Cigarette Ban

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For years, state lawmakers have deliberated ways to combat the addicting killers that are cigarettes. The smoking rate has faced a noticeable decline, but cigarettes are still prevalent as a solid 38 million Americans still smoke.

Recently, Hawaii lawmakers proposed a rather creative bill to make it illegal for virtually anyone to purchase cigarettes. The plan is to gradually raise the legal age to purchase cigarettes until it gets high enough to exclude approximately the entire population. The bill will raise the buying age to 30 in 2020, to 40 in 2021, 50 in 2022, 60 in 2023, and in 2024, reach a height of 100.. In each subsequent year, the age would raise to 40, 50, and 60, reaching its height in 2024 where the age would hit 100.

The law would only include cigarettes, and electronic cigarettes and tobacco would still be legal.

The plan was created by state Rep. Richard Creagan, a physician concerned about the public’s health. Creagan told the Hawaii Tribune-Herald his reasonings for supporting a cigarette ban.

Referring to the cigarette, Creagan said, “This is more lethal, more dangerous than any prescription drug, and it is more addictive. In my view, you are taking people who are enslaved from a horrific addiction, and freeing people from horrific enslavement.”

In a phone interview with The Washington Post, Rep. Cynthia Thielen, a supporter of the ban, stated that the goal of the bill is to “keep people alive and healthy in the Aloha State.”

Hawaii has fairly strict cigarette laws, becoming the first U.S. state to raise the age to purchase and smoke to 21 in 2015.

According to the CDC, cigarettes are the leading cause of death in the U.S., causing more than 480,000 deaths per year, with more than 41,000 deaths resulting from exposure to secondhand smoke.

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