HONOLULU — Hawaii may be the first state to ban cigarettes if a proposed bill becomes law.
If the bill passes it will legally prohibit adults under the age of 30 from buying cigarettes within less than a year’s time and ban all cigarette sales in Hawaii within five years, according to KHON.
The bill was proposed by Hawaii State Representative Richard Creagan (D) who has reportedly dismissed the argument that his proposal would take away smokers’ civil liberties.
“We’re taxing them, that did decrease use somewhat, but we still have 140,000 people in our state that smoke cigarettes. You don’t see them as much anymore, because we kind of made them hide. But, they’re going to die, half of them are going to die if they keep smoking, and we can prevent that,” he told KHON.
Creagan reportedly argues that “smokers are horribly addicted and need freedom from enslavement.” He also claims that Hawaii is addicted to the $110 million in cigarette-tax revenue.
He says that while he would prefer the ban to be immediate and total, he realizes the beneficiaries of those tax dollars “can’t go cold-turkey,” the news outlet reports.
The proposed bill was co-signed by Rep. John Mizuno (D) and Rep. Cynthia Thielen (R).
KHON reports that smokers and non-smokers are having mixed feelings about the legislation.
This comes after Hawaii was the first state to raise the legal smoking age to 21 back in 2016.