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Keeping it 100: Hawaii lawmaker wants to put smoking age basically out of reach

February 6, 2019

Keeping it 100: Hawaii lawmaker wants to put smoking age basically out of reach

HONOLULU, Hawaii — A state legislator is proposing legislation that won’t ban smoking outright ... but residents would have to wait a long, long time to do it legally.

The proposal by State Rep. Richard Creagan would raise the age requirement for smoking to 30 in 2020. That’s a significant jump over the current age of 21.

But it’s only getting started. It would hit 40 in 2021, 50 in 2022 and 100 in 2024, USA Today reports.

Creagan, who is a medical doctor, tells the Hawaii Tribune-Herald that previous increases in taxes and regulations on smoking don’t go far enough.

“Basically, we 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 highly lethal. And, it is,” Creagan says.

The bill does not apply to cigars, chewing tobacco or e-cigarettes, the Washington Post reports. The timetable allows for the state to plan for losses in tax revenue from cigarette sales, the Post reports.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says there are more than 480,000 smoking-related deaths each year in the United States. The popularity of smoking has declined over the past several years, according to the CDC: In 2016, 15.5 percent of adults smoked and less than 7 percent below the age of 18.

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