Hawaii could become first state to ban cigarette sales

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A Big Island lawmaker has proposed incrementally increasing the minimum age to buy cigarettes, leading to a practical ban across Hawaii.

The Hawaii Tribune-Herald reports Democratic state Rep. Richard Creagan has proposed legislation that aims to make the state the first to ban the sale of cigarettes.

Under his bill, the minimum smoking age would increase to 30 in 2020, 40 in 2021, 50 in 2022, 60 in 2023, and 100 in 2024.

The measure would not apply to e-cigarettes, cigars or chewing tobacco.

Creagan says taxes and other regulations have slowed down tobacco use, but they have not stopped the problem.

He says the state is obligated to "protect the public's health."

Hawaii currently does not allow the sale of cigarettes to anyone under the age of 21.