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Hawaii Aims to Ban Cigarettes – Should More States Do the Same?

Should more states ban smoking?

by Countable | 2.11.19

What’s the story?

  • Lawmakers in Hawaii have introduced legislation that would eventually raise the minimum age for purchasing tobacco to 100. Electronic cigarettes, cigars and smokeless tobacco would be exempted.

What would the bill do?

  • State Rep. Richard Creagan, a medical doctor, sponsored the bipartisan legislation that would raise the minimum age to purchase tobacco to 30 in 2020, 40 in 2021, 50 in 2022 and 100 in 2024.
  • H.B. 1509 says cigarettes are “considered the deadliest artifact in human history,” causing “more preventable disease, death, and disability than any other health issue” in the state.

What are both sides saying?

  • “In my view, you are taking people who are enslaved from a horrific addiction and freeing people from horrific enslavement,’’ Creagan told the Hawaii Tribune-Herald.
“We, as legislators, have a duty to do things to save people’s lives. If we don’t ban cigarettes, we are killing people.”
  • Lynn Kozlowski, an expert in tobacco policy who teaches at the State University of New York at Buffalo, told USA Today that he questions the efficacy of a ban.
  • “If you can use ways to make the public fully aware of how dangerous cigarettes are, understand the differential risks, differentially tax these products, that’s been shown to have an effect on bringing smoking down,’’ Kozlowski said.
“A ban is not a tool I would turn to at this time.’’

What do you think?

Should more states consider the banning of cigarettes? Raise the minimum age higher? Lower an age-requirement entirely? Take action and tell your reps, then share your thoughts below.

—Josh Herman

(Photo Credit: iStockphoto.com / Mixmike)

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