Smoking became controversial ever since the world declared war on cigarettes. It seems that before other major states decide to regulate smoking among teens, Hawaii will become the first state that outlaws smoking for all the teens under 21.
The legal smoking age is now 21 in Hawaii and the government bans the sale and use of cigarettes and electronic smoking devices as well, for all under 21. With this regulation, the state tries to reduce the impact that smoking has on communities. An 18 year old who can smoke on a legal basis now will not be able to do so under the state regulations starting with January 1.
This is a very courageous attempt to fight against vices, as most US states have set the legal smoking age at 18, while few of them have established higher limit, allowing smoking for teens that are 19 years of age. New York City is the first city that has raised the smoking age to 21.
Some voices argue that this regulation limits choice for people considered adults in other situations, like joining the military. This is a very interesting point of view, as the state considers people above 18 adults enough to fight in wars but it doesn’t trust them enough to let them take the freedom of smoking a cigarette once in a while.
In Hawaii only, 9 out of 10 smokers start before 21, as it happens with the majority of smokers all over the world. Whether we can base this on teen rebellion or the forbidden fruit that seems so appealing to us, it is a question of taste and desire. However, this new law can bring some serious benefits, as according to new data coming from The Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, tobacco use kills 1.400 people on a yearly basis and costs $526 million in medical bills in Hawaii, annually.
Moreover, cigarette smoking is the main cause of preventable death in US, with more than 480.000 deaths annually or one in five deaths in other words, as the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention recently stated.
Yes, smoking can be the main cause of preventable death in US, but what about the trans fatty acids we can find in most foods, that generate heart failures, obesity and other major health problems? Smoking doesn’t bring any benefit whatsoever to our health, but as long as we can call ourselves adults, the choices should be ours alone to make. The war on cigarettes has reached a very delicate ground when it comes to the powers of the state that can decide over what we are allowed or not allowed to do. We have a history of prohibition that should have helped us learn some serious lessons. The forbidden fruit will always be the most appealing fruit from the branches of addictive trees and history is here to reveal that.
Image Source: newsroom.unl.edu