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Tipsheet

Hawaii Raises Its Smoking Age to 21

In June, Hawaii became the first state to raise its smoking age to 21, passing a pair of laws that restrict the sale of tobacco to people under the age of 21, and prohibiting people under the age of 21 from using electronic cigarettes. These laws go into effect today, January 1, and will also effect the Marines stationed in the state.

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The laws were passed in response to fears that young Hawaiians were using e-cigarettes at higher rates than teens in other states. E-cigarettes emit an odorless water vapor, not smoke, and deliver nicotine in a mist form.

Possessing or using tobacco products under the age of 21 will incur a $10 fine at the first offense, and a $50 fine for each subsequent offense.

Personally, while I'm opposed to smoking and think that it's a disgusting habit, I'm not sure these laws are the right way of discouraging teens to smoke. Prohibitions are generally useless, and tobacco use has dropped dramatically in all age groups as the ill-effects of use became apparent and advertised in graphic terms. Children have been exposed to numerous anti-smoking programs since a young age--and if those don't work, what will?

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