Bill raising Honolulu smoking age advances


HONOLULU — The Honolulu City Council’s Public Safety and Economic Development Committee has advanced a bill to raise the legal smoking age to 21.

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reports Bill 51 would make it illegal for anyone under 21 to buy tobacco or electronic smoking devices.

The current smoking age is 18.

Councilman Stanley Chang introduced the bill.

Most speaking at the committee hearing Tuesday night were opposed.

Kaneohe resident Jolyn Tenn says raising the smoking age to 21 is “totally asinine.” She says her two children became responsible adults at 18 and made decisions about careers, health care, marriage and finances.

The state Department of Health and the Coalition for a Tobacco-Free Hawaii support the bill. Representatives say an increase in the smoking age is important for discouraging youth smoking.

Hawaii County became the first county in the state to raise the minimum age to purchase tobacco or electronic smoking devices. The law went into effect on July 1.

West Hawaii Today contributed to this report.