The new bill, HB 1509, would change the smoking age from 21 to 30 in 2020, 40 in 2021, 50 in 2022, 60 in 2023 and 100 in 2024. Hawaii has historically been more health conscious about smoking than other states.
In 2017, Hawaii and California were the first two states to raise the smoking age to 21. New Jersey, Maine, Massachusetts and Oregon have also raised the age to 21. In most other states the smoking age is either 18 or 19.
Hawaii slowly increasing their smoking age will discourage younger people from smoking. When the age is 18 or 19, there are high schoolers smoking. Almost 23 percent of high schoolers smoke cigarettes. They could be influencing underclassmen to smoke by buying tobacco products for their younger peers.
Just when cigarettes were becoming increasingly less popular, e-cigarettes made their debut. E-cigarettes were marketed as a way to stop smoking, but according to recent studies, JUUL products are even more addictive than cigarettes.
JUULs may be less harmful to your health than cigarettes, but children are smoking them at a younger age and more often than they would smoke a cigarette. With a cigarette, you have to wait to go outside in an area that permits smoking. With a JUUL, there is no odor and the devices only give off a small amount of smoke. People can vape from a JUUL anytime of day, and it can be used inside or outside.
I hope other states look at how Hawaii is handling tobacco products and will follow in their footsteps. Other drugs that are known to cause health problems are more regulated than cigarettes.
Cigarettes are much easier to get a hold of than marijuana or alcohol, when they do just as much, if not more, damage. The U.S. made cocaine, marijuana and other drugs illegal, but didn’t think to regulate tobacco more strictly.
Drugs that are addictive and harmful to people’s bodies should be illegal. Why aren’t cigarettes illegal? The answer is that tobacco makes money. These companies are profiting off of people’s addictions.
This suggests that the U.S. government cares more about making money than the lives of its people. The government is willing to allow children to develop addictions and health problems to fund the tobacco industry.
The tobacco industry was making less money because less and less people were smoking cigarettes, but quickly replaced one addiction with another with e-cigarettes. Hawaii raising their age shows that they care about their citizens.
I hope this is a step in the right direction for the whole country. Although Louisiana may end up being the last state to raise their age, it is still a positive change for everyone. It may be years before we see any progress in other states, but Hawaii has truly made an admirable stride.