Hawaii is set to increase cigarette buying age to 100 over a four-year staggered roll-out through a proposed bill that is promoting a phased ban on cigarettes sales by 2024.
The bill, authored by Rep. Richard Creagan, an Emergency Room doctor, aims to increase the age allowed to by cigarettes to 30 by next year, then raising it to 40, 50, and 60 in the subsequent years, and up to 100 by 2024.
“The legislature finds that the cigarette is considered the deadliest artifact in human history,” the opening text of the bill reads.
Hawaii has had the most restrictive cigarette regulations in all states being the first one to increase the allowable age to buy cigarettes to 21 by 2016. An act which was followed through by other states such as California, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Oregon, and Maine.
Federal law requires states to adopt a minimum of 18 as the age one can legally buy cigarettes and enforcing it by withholding FEMA grants to those who will not comply. Most of the states allow 18 year-olds to buy cigarettes while some increase it to 19-year-old.
“Basically, we [Hawaii] 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 is highly lethal. And, it is.” Rep. Creagan said to Hawaii Tribune-Herald.
Although the legislation would practically ban cigarettes by 2024, e-cigarettes, cigars, and smokeless cigarettes will not be affected.
Cigarettes generate $100M in tax revenue
According to the bill, Hawaii suffers from addiction in cigarettes in the form of tax revenues that come from the industry. It also noted that the state is collecting $100M worth of income from tax annually.
“[Hawaii] is suffering from its addiction to cigarettes in the form of the large sums of money that the State receives from state cigarette sales taxes,” the bill reads.
Creagan said that the reason for the staggered roll-out of the age allowable to purchase cigarettes is to allow the state to find other resources to recuperate from the revenue lost after cigarettes are banned. /apr