by Crystal Ly

The new law that went in effect on Jan.1 made Hawaii the first state in the country to raise the legal smoking age to 21, with the support of the Department of the Navy and Marine Corps of the U.S. Army. “Several military bases in Hawaii expressed their support for the move, saying their bases would comply with the state law,” according to cbsnews.com site. This law prohibits anyone that is under the age of 21 from smoking and purchasing products such as traditional and electronic cigarettes. Stores that are caught selling traditional or electronic cigarettes, and other tobacco products to anyone under the age of 21 could be fined anywhere between $500-$2,000. Any minors that are caught purchasing or possessing these products could be fined anywhere between $10-$50, as well as having to commit to community service.

 

“I think it’s a good thing that they’re trying to prevent people from smoking or having possession of those products, but I don’t think it would be as effective,” said sophomore Ludmila Fededa. “A lot of people could, and would discreetly smoke without anyone knowing. It’s also hard to quit something that you’re addicted to or that is a habit,” she explained.

 

According to the Huffington Post, “Raising the minimum age to buy cigarettes nationwide would translate to 249,000 fewer premature deaths, 45,000 fewer deaths from lung cancer, and 4.2 million fewer years of lost life from smoking for individuals born between 2000 and 2019.” According to the Washington Times, “Roughly 5,600 kids in Hawaii try smoking every year, and around 86 percent of adult smokers across the state had their first cigarette before turning 21.”

 

“I think that this is a beneficial change even though it might be hard to stop smoking or make it an effective law at first,“ said junior Nassor Smalls. He sees the change as a beneficial one, “I agree with the legal age change of smoking in Hawaii because it could prevent and decrease the rate of death and other health issues in the long run. I think it would be good if our state also raised the legal smoking age”
Despite Hawaii becoming the first state to raise the smoking age to 21 in the country, there are other cities who have also done the same. Two cities out of over 100, includes New York City and Boston. Following into Hawaii’s footstep, New Jersey may become the second state to raise the smoking age to 21, while California and Washington have also “Pushed for anti-tobacco bills that aim to impose new restrictions on tobacco use, especially on e-cigarettes, which are popular among underage smokers,” according to the Pbs.org site.

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This graph shows the percentage of Hawaii public school students reported trying e-cigarettes on the years.