Soon, Hawaii might only let you to smoke if you’re already on borrowed time. If a bill introduced by Democratic state representative and medical doctor Richard Creagan passes, Hawaii’s legal smoking age could be raised to 100. Creagan saw the negative effects of smoking first hand during his medical career, and described cigarettes in the bill as “the deadliest artifact in human history.”
Creagan told the Hawaii Tribune-Herald that cigarettes are “more lethal, more dangerous than any prescription drug, and it is more addicting […] We don’t allow people free access to opioids, for instance, or any prescription drugs.”
This isn’t the first time Hawaii has taken measures against smoking. In January 2017, it became the first state to raise the smoking age to 21. The minimum age in the rest of the nation is 18 or 19.
“We, as legislators, have a duty to do things to save people’s lives. If we don’t ban cigarettes, we are killing people,” Creagan added. According to the Centers for Disease Control, “Cigarette smoking is responsible for more than 480,000 deaths per year in the United States, including more than 41,000 deaths resulting from secondhand smoke exposure. This is about one in five deaths annually, or 1,300 deaths every day.”
The bill doesn’t propose raising the legal age to 100 overnight, however. It suggests increasing it to 30 in 2020, 40 in 2021, 50 in 2022, 60 in 2023, and finally 100 in 2024, essentially banning smoking altogether.