This new legislation being proposed by Hawaii is so smart, you’ll wonder why nobody has ever thought of it before.
All across the many islands that make up Hawaii, there are approximately 150,000 smokers. According to the state legislature, that number is about 150,000 too many-so they’re working on an idea to change that. In an effort to bring that number down rapidly, one legislator has proposed a new law that would outlaw the sale of cigarettes to anyone under the age of 100.
Yep, you read that right. 100-years-old.
“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’s highly lethal. And, it is,” Representative Rich Cregan, the one who proposed the bill, told the Hawaii Tribune-Herald. The bill reads, in part, “In Hawaii, cigarettes have caused more preventable disease, death, and disability than any other health issue, each year claiming the lives of more than one thousand four hundred adults and contributing to more than twenty thousand premature deaths of minors.”
Beside his role in politics, Cregan is also a physician and he asserts that the already increased purchasing age has curbed tobacco usage, but just hasn’t curbed it enough. Research does show that most tobacco addictions start young: According to the American Cancer Society, almost 90 percent of cigarette smokers start before they even reach 18-years-old.
This proposed legislation should really come as no surprise from a state like Hawaii , who already has some of the strictest cigarette laws on the books; They’re one of six states which have raised the minimum purchase age for tobacco–including e-cigarettes–to 21-years-old.
If this new bill passes, the ban will go into effect gradually: the minimum age will increase to 30-years-old in 2020, 40-years-old in 2021, 50-years-old in 2022, 60-years-old in 2023, and finally, by 2024, the legal age for purchase will jump to 100-years-old. Included in this, however, is that tourists will still be able to bring cigarettes with them to the island. Beyond that, this ban will not include e-cigarettes, cigars, or chewing tobacco in order to make the bill legally sound.
Though setting the age to 100 seems like a not-so-sly scheme to just eradicate cigarettes altogether, Hawaii is actually home to the highest concentration of centenarians (a person who is one hundred or more years old) in the United States.