Home / National News / Hawaii Raises Smoking Age to 21, Effective in 2016


(HONOLULU) — Beginning next year, Hawaii will be the first state to implement a historic smoking measure preventing individuals under the age of 21 from purchasing, possessing or smoking cigarettes or electronic smoking devices.

The law, signed by Hawaii Governor David Ige, will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2016, and will make Hawaii the first state in the nation to have a minimum age to purchase, possess or consumer smoking products of 21. “Raising the minimum age as part of our comprehensive tobacco control efforts will help reduct tobacco use among our youth,” Ige said in a statement.

A press release from Ige’s office note that 86 percent of adult smokers in Hawaii begin smoking before the age of 21. Of those, 34 percent begin smoking between the ages of 18 and 20, a statistic that Ige believes supports his plan.

Four other states — Alabama, Alaska, New Jersey and Utah — have raised the minimum age for smoking to 19.

Hawaii, the governor’s office notes, has the third lowest adult smoking rate in the country at 13 percent, down from nearly 20 percent in 2000.

“Hawaii continues to be a leader in tobacco prevention and control,” Director of Health Dr. Virginia Pressler said. “Partners statewide have come together to support this monumental legislation that once again puts Hawaii at the cutting edge of public health policy and protecting the health of our youth.”

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