Hawaii to Restrict Tobacco Sales to Youth


Recently the County Council of Hawaii approved a bill which prohibits sale of tobacco products to people younger than 21.  The bill was proposed by  Kona Councilman Dru Kanuha, who said he expects that Mayor Billy Kenoi will sign it into law, saying it will strenghten mayor’s health initiatives.  Kanuha said that of they can make even few people refuse from smoking, then this bill is doing what it is intended to do.

He added that 5 people were agianst the law and their main argument was that people over 18 can serve in the military, and why at this age they cannot buy tobacco products.  If the bill will be approved, the  county will join a growing group of local governments which prohibit cigaretttes sales to people under 21  The last week New York City approved such a law.

The Hawaii County bill applies to the sale of tobacco products and not to their consumption.  Some state and federal laws do already ban the sale of tobacco and smokeless tobacco products to people under the age of 18.

In this situation the use of e-cigarettes raise multiple questions. These are battery-operated devices that heat liquid-based nicotine to create a vapor that is inhaled.  Recent years they became quite popular among smokers, but effects from their use were not studies yet. Some states do classify e-cigarettes as tobacco products and Hawaii County joins them. Washington Post wrote that the FDA proposed to mark them as tobacco products.

Experts say that e-cigarette marketing is aimed at young people, therefore their sale to those uder 18 should be prohibited. Thus many states in the USA already did it. For example, North Dakota, Utah, New Jersey, Arkansas have included e-cigarettes in indoor smoking bans, and Connecticut, California and Massachusetts are going to do the same.

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