A second measure, which also goes into effect on January 1, incorporates e-cigarettes into Hawai’i’s smoke-free laws, meaning that the use of e-cigarettes is now prohibited where smoking and/or using tobacco products is already banned.
1, 2016, consumers must be at least age 21 to purchase tobacco products and electronic smoking devices (e-cigarettes) in Hawaiʻi.
On the bright side, the survey respondents said they saw fewer people smoke in public and at home than in the past, which the researchers said meant fewer people are being exposed to secondhand smoke. According to the AP the number of middle school students who said they’ve used e-cigarettes increased six times over to 12 percent in 2015, whereas high school students’ usage quadrupled during the same period to 22 percent in 2015.
According to ABC News, the new Hawaii smoking age is believed by public health officials to help prevent young people from developing an unhealthy addiction early on. In the U.S., 95 percent of adult smokers begin smoking before the age of 21. A Navy spokesman says it’s a fitness and readiness issue. The main argument is that anyone old enough to volunteer to die for others during deployment should have the freedom to choose whether or not to smoke once they’ve returned to the safety of their own country. “It’s a lot more stressful, especially for people who are in combat jobs”, Taylor Dwyer, also an X-ray technician in the Army, added. Almost half become regular, daily smokers before age 18, and an additional 25 percent become regular, daily smokers between ages 18 and 21. Additionally, any minor caught purchasing or possessing such products will face fines between $10 and $50, as well as community service. Vendors caught selling to people under 21 will be fined $500 for the first offense, and up to $2,000 for multiple offenses.
Irvin said 4,000 signs to 650 vendors have been distributed to inform tourists.
“Expanding access to tobacco treatment medication will further support our state’s efforts to reduce tobacco use”, Human Services Commissioner Emily Johnson Piper said. “It’s a matter of education. While smoking rates have decreased over time, there is still much work to be done at both the local and state level”, said Oldham.
Sabrina Olaes, 18, said she started organizing events to educate her classmates about the dangers of smoking after getting frustrated finding herself surrounded by fumes from electronic cigarettes in the girl’s bathroom at her school.
Anti-smoking advocates say that smokers opt for menthol cigarettes as these mask the foul smell and harsh taste of normal cigarettes, and even lead to some inhaling the smoke more deeply.