Home » Hawaii Becomes First State To Raise Legal Smoking Age To 21

Hawaii Becomes First State To Raise Legal Smoking Age To 21

Last updated on June 14th, 2024 at 10:12 am

Hawaii will become the first state in the country to ban smoking for anyone under age 21 next year after Gov. David Ige signed a bill raising the smoking age from 18 to 21 Friday.

According to Hawaii News Now, the measure bans the sale or use of cigarettes and electronic smoking devices for anyone under age 21.

“Taking this step forward to prohibit anyone under the age of 21 of smoking, purchasing, possessing, is another step to reduce the impact that smoking has on our community,” Ige said at a bill signing ceremony in his State Capitol office.

There will be no grandfather clause so an 18-year-old who can smoke legally now will not be able to do so legally as of Jan. 1, 2016, when the law takes effect.

News Now reports that state health department officials say they will continue contracting enforcement out to local police departments that send young people into stores to see if they can buy tobacco products even though they’re under age.

Stores caught selling tobacco to anyone under 21 will be fined $500 for the first offense and each violation after that will see fines of anywhere from $500 to $2,000.

Starting next year, when the under-21 ban takes effect, any minors caught by police using tobacco products are subject to a $10 fine for the first offense and any subsequent violations will cost them $50.

A proposal to raise the smoking age to 21 is working its way through the California legislature, so California is poised to be the second state to increase the smoking age as high as Hawaii.

There are four states that have already raised the smoking age to 19: Alabama, Alaska, New Jersey and Utah.

News Now reports that Ige signed a second bill Friday that makes state beach parks and beaches smoke free, another first-in-the-nation prohibition. Smoking already is banned at all city and county parks across the state except in Kauai County. Using cigarettes and any tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, will be against the law in state parks starting July 1.

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