On Friday, Hawaii’s legislature passed a bill in which the minimum legal age to buy tobacco products or e-cigarettes has been raised from 18 to 21. With the approval of this bill, Hawaii has become the first state in the country to ban the sales of tobacco products to anyone below the age of 21.
The bill will be sent to Gov. David Ige whose signature would make it law in Hawaii as of January 1, 2016. There are 46 states that allow the sale of tobacco products the ones who are aged 18 or older. In Alabama, Alaska, New Jersey, and Utah, the ones needing cigarettes or other tobacco products should be at least 19.
There are many other cities and towns, like New York, which have already increased the minimum legal age for tobacco purchase to 21. Matthew L. Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, is happy that such legislation is coming into effect.
Myers affirmed that the law would lead to a decline in smoking among youngsters, saves lives and would also make the next generation tobacco-free. “Increasing the sale age to 21 will reduce tobacco use among youth and young adults, age groups when nearly all smoking begins and that are heavily targeted by the tobacco industry”, affirmed Myers.
Though Ige on Friday has approved the legislation, it was not clear on Monday whether or not he would sign the bill. A spokeswoman for the governor affirmed that he would need some time to review the bill.
Last month, a report was launched by the Institute of Medicine, which stated that prohibiting people under the age of 21 from purchasing cigarettes could prove quite beneficial. In fact, finalizing the minimum age to buy tobacco products at 21 across the nation would result in a quarter-million fewer premature deaths.