Original source: Washington Post
The bipartisan bill, H.B. 1509, aims to raise the legal minimum age to use cigarettes to exclude everyone but centenarians by 2024 to “keep people healthy and alive in the Aloha State,” state Rep. Cynthia Thielen (R), one of the sponsors of the bill, said Tuesday afternoon in a phone interview with The Washington Post.
“I know it may be a hard road,” Thielen added, “but you have to take that first, strong step — and that’s what we’re doing.”
In recent years, Hawaii has been at the forefront of the tobacco debate, increasing taxes and regulations and becoming the first state in the nation to ban smoking for people younger than 21.
But Thielen said that previous legislation has simply “poked at different portions of the problem.”
The proposed bill, which was introduced late last month, “hits at the center of it and prohibits smoking in our state,” she said.
According to H.B. 1509, cigarettes are “considered the deadliest artifact in human history,” causing “more preventable disease, death, and disability than any other health issue” in the state.
The bill aims to raise the legal minimum age to purchase or possess cigarettes to 30 by next year, 40 by 2021, 50 by 2022, 60 by 2023 and 100 by 2024. The timetable would allow the state to plan for a loss in cigarette tax revenue, according to reports. The bill does not apply to cigars, chewing tobacco or e-cigarettes.