Insight & Analysis

“Nothing makes a smoker happier than to see an old person smoking”

Published: Feb 2019

It would add a new dimension to the late Bill Hicks’ joke but there could soon be a law in Hawaii that permits only those over the age of 100 to buy cigarettes.

A legislative proposal by democratic state representative and former medical doctor, Richard Creagan, seeks to incrementally raise the minimum age to purchase cigarettes.

Currently, Hawaiians must be at least 21 in order to buy cigarettes. Creagan’s proposal will see that rise to 30 in 2020, 40 in 2021, 50 in 2022, 60 in 2023, and then leap from 60 to 100 in 2024.

The bill, which has the support of two sponsors, exempts electronic cigarettes, cigars and smokeless tobacco. It also allows tourists to bring cigarettes to the islands.

Hawaii’s stance on smoking has previously seen other states follow suit. Following its move in 2016 to raise the age limit to 21, five other states – California, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Oregon and Maine – raised their legal age to buy cigarettes to 21.

Another Hawaii State politician, Senator Dru Kanuha, is introducing a bill to raise taxation on tobacco to raise funds for health programmes.

However, Creagan argues that taxation and health warnings are not sufficiently effective in reducing death and disease caused by smoking. “It’s slowing it down, but it’s not stopping the problem,” he told the Hawaii Tribune-Herald, adding that “the state is obliged to protect the public’s health”.

Creagan admitted that he had been a smoker throughout his medical career, claiming that it had helped him stay awake during long shifts. He is also currently a proponent of the legalisation of marijuana, arguing that its consumption is not as great a health risk as smoking tobacco.

In 2012, the federal appeals court upheld a decision that the US Constitution does not recognise smoking as a fundamental right.

All our content is free, just register below

As we move to a new and improved digital platform all users need to create a new account. This is very simple and should only take a moment.

Already have an account? Sign In

Already a member? Sign In

This website uses cookies and asks for your personal data to enhance your browsing experience. We are committed to protecting your privacy and ensuring your data is handled in compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).