East Hawaii News

Ban on Under-21 Tobacco Sales Begins in July

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Saying he was doing it for the benefit of the community, and especially children, Mayor Billy Kenoi on Thursday put his signature on a law banning the sale of tobacco products to those under 21.

Those attending the signing included County Councilman Dru Mamo Kanuha, who introduced the bill, and students from Kealakehe High School who advocated for the measure.

Wearing T-shirts stating “One Good Reason” with an arrow pointing up at their face, more than 40 students from Kealakehe and Konawaena high schools had attended County Council meetings where the measure was deliberated and eventually passed unanimously.

“I signed this bill for the benefit of our community, and most importantly, our kids,” Kenoi said.

“Mahalo to Councilman Kanuha for hearing their voices and having the courage to follow through. With all of the known harmful effects of tobacco use, this measure is in the best interest of public health and safety.”

According to the Coalition for a Tobacco-Free Hawaii, nearly 1,200 Hawaii residents die each year from diseases related to tobacco use – 90% of whom became daily tobacco users before the age of 18.

“We are deeply grateful to Councilmember Kanuha and his staff for creating a bill that was easy for the other councilmembers to support,” said Sally Ancheta, East Hawai‘i Coalition coordinator for CTFH. “We thank Mayor Kenoi for taking the initiative to protect our youth and supporting the many voices that came to testify.”

“My commitment is to help our young people live longer and healthier lives than the generation who came before them, and to improve the overall health of our island,” Kanuha said.

The law goes into effect July 1, 2014.



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