Back in 2016, Hawaii became the first state in the nation to ban the sale of cigarettes to anyone under 21. Now, lawmakers are looking at even tougher prohibitions around cigarette sales.
Under a proposal before the state Legislature, cigarette sales would be effectively banned outright by 2024. The ban would go into effect progressively, starting with raising the minimum age for buying cigarettes to 30 in 2020. By 2022, no one under 50 could buy cigarettes.
And two years later, no one under 100 would be allowed to buy cigarettes.
The measure, House Bill 1509, is a long shot. It passed its first reading last week, a procedural hurdle, and has been assigned to committees. But it doesn’t yet have a hearing.
That doesn’t mean it won’t get one, especially after news of the proposal started generating headlines nationally. Some 13 percent of Hawaii adults are smokers. That’s lower than the national average of 17 percent.