Hawai`i is First State to Increase age of Sale for Tobacco Products to 21
(June 19, 2015) -
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Honolulu—Today Hawai`i Governor David Ige made history by signing into law SB 1030, legislation prohibiting the sale of tobacco products to anyone under the age of 21. Hawai`i is the first state in the nation to implement this bold legislation which will help reduce smoking among young people, save lives and work to make our next generation tobacco-free.
“We know the majority of current adult smokers began using tobacco before they turned 21,” said Kim Nguyen, executive director of the American Lung Association in Hawai`i. “Increasing the sale age will reduce tobacco use for our youth and young adults who are heavily targeted by the tobacco industry.”
Hawai`i joins more than 60 cities and counties in seven states that have raised the tobacco age of sale to 21. Similar legislation has been introduced in California, Washington, New Jersey and elsewhere. Hawai`i has provided great leadership for these efforts.
In Hawai`i, tobacco use claims 1,400 lives and costs $526 million in health care bills each year. Currently, 10.4 percent of Hawai`i’s high school students smoke. Today’s bill signing will help to reduce tobacco’s deadly toll.
In March, the Institute of Medicine published a report concluding that increasing the tobacco sale age would yield substantial benefits to public health. The report found that increasing the sale age to 21 would significantly reduce the number of adolescents and young adults who start smoking; reduce smoking-caused deaths; and immediately improve the health of adolescents, young adults and young mothers who would be deterred from smoking, as well as their children.
“The American Lung Association in Hawai`i applauds the actions of our legislature and governor,” said Nguyen. “Today’s action by Governor Ige is an historical step forward for our people and our public health in Hawai`i.”
About the American Lung Association in Hawai`i
The American Lung Association in Hawai`i is a non-profit, voluntary public health organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease in Hawai`i. Our programs focus on the areas of air quality, tobacco prevention and cessation and lung health.
For more information about the American Lung Association in Hawai`i or to support the work it does, call 808.537.5966 or visit www.lung.org.