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Legal Smoking Age Rises to 21 on Jan. 1

December 28, 2015, 3:00 PM HST
* Updated December 28, 12:22 PM
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A new law prohibits distribution of tobacco products to those under 21. File photo.

The new law prohibits distribution of tobacco products and e-cigs to those under 21. File photo.

The legal smoking age in Hawaiʻi will rise to 21 on Jan. 1, when Senate Bill 1030 is enacted into law as Act 122.

On Friday, Hawaiʻi will become the first state in the nation to raise the age on the sale of tobacco products and e-cigs to 21.

Gov. David Ige said the legislation is part of the state’s comprehensive tobacco control efforts to help reduce tobacco sue among youth and increase the likelihood that children in Hawaiʻi will grow up tobacco-free.

State officials said that 86% of current adult smokers in Hawai‘i begin smoking before 21 years of age; of these, 34% start smoking between 18 and 20 years of age.

Officials further stated that “delaying the age when young people first experiment or begin using tobacco can reduce their risk of becoming regular or daily tobacco users.”

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Gov. Ige also signed House Bill 525, which made Hawaiʻi state parks and beaches smoke-free as of July 1, 2015. Under the law, the use of all tobacco products and electronic smoking devices (e-cigarettes) are banned from use at the facilities. It applies to all areas of the parks, including beaches, picnic and camping areas, trails and roadways.

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In Maui County, a bill that effectively banned tobacco use at county parks, beaches and recreational facilities became law last year.

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