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Hawaii Could Be the First State to Ban Cigarettes, Which Would Be A Huge Win for the Earth

By Sophie Hirsh

Cigarettes are the most commonly littered item on earth – but Hawaii is working to distance itself from that statistic. As reported by the Hawaii Tribune-Herald, Rep. Richard Creagan of Hawaii recently proposed a five-year plan to ban selling cigarettes statewide. Creagan's bill would increase the minimum age to buy cigarettes each year for the next five years: It would raise to 30 in 2020, 40 in 2021, 50 in 2022, 60 in 2023, and 100 in 2024. Basically, by 2024, Hawaiians will have to work pretty hard to convince a 100-year-old in a liquor store parking lot to go inside and buy them a carton of cigarettes.

Hawaii already has some of the strictest cigarette laws in the country — as noted by the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, Hawaii is one of six states (along with California, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Oregon) where customers must be at least 21 to buy cigarettes, instead of 18. However Creagan, who represents the Na'alehu, Ocean View, Captain Cook, and Kailua-Kona areas of Hawaii, does not think that is doing nearly enough to keep citizens away from cigarettes. 

“It’s slowing it down, but it’s not stopping the problem,” Creagan told the Hawaii Tribune-Herald of 21 being the minimum age. “This is more lethal, more dangerous than any prescription drug, and it is more addicting. In my view, you are taking people who are enslaved from a horrific addiction, and freeing people from horrific enslavement. We, as legislators, have a duty to do things to save people’s lives. If we don’t ban cigarettes, we are killing people.”