Recent updates! – Tobacco 21 Progress
6/19/2015 – Senate Bill 1030 is signed by Governor Ige, making Hawaii the first Tobacco 21 state!
4/24/2015 – Senate Bill 1030 passes final reading, sent to Governor to be signed into law
4/14/2015 – Senate Bill 1030 passes through House, moves on to conference
3/27/2015 – Senate Bill 1030 passes through House Judiciary Committee
3/25/2015 – Senate Bill 1030 passes through House Health Committee
3/10/2015 – Senate Bill 1030 passes through Senate, moves on to House
3/4/2015 – Senate Bill 1030 passes through Senate Judiciary Committee
2/10/2015 – Senate Bill 1030 passes through Senate Health Committee and Commerce and Consumer Protection Committee
1/28/2015 – Senate Bill 1030, which would raise the tobacco/nicotine age to 21 for the whole state of Hawaii, introduced to Senate by 5 sponsors.

On June 19th, 2015, Hawaii became the first state to implement Tobacco 21, a milestone in tobacco prevention efforts. Senate Bill 1030 was first introduced in early 2015 by 5 sponsors, and quickly passed by the House and Senate. It was then sent to conference where the House and Senate compromised on the language. It then went back through the House and the Senate for final reading and approval. Finally, Governor Ige signed the bill into law. Every politician, public health official, and tobacco prevention advocate in Hawaii deserves a round of applause for this bold step in the fight against tobacco and nicotine addiction.

House Bill 385, the bill to raise the tobacco and electronic smoking age to 21 in Hawaii

The effort to implement Tobacco 21 at the state level comes after the success on the the “Big Island” of Hawaii, and a push by council members Stanley Chang and Ernie Martin to raise the tobacco age to 21 in Oahu. On November 21, 2013, the County Council of the Big Island unanimously passed historic legislation to raise the legal sales age to 21, and Mayor Billy Kenoi signed the bill on December 19th. The legislation covered all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, and grandfathers current eighteen-year olds. It went into effect July 1, 2014. The bill was propelled by an astonishing grassroots effort including 500 kids who attended the sentinel County Council meeting, and was coordinated by Tobacco Free Hawaii.

Currently, Hawaii has one of the lowest rates of high school smoking in the country, and a below average rate of adult smoking. This is certainly a reflection on their dedication to tobacco prevention, shown by the above legislation, and by their high tax on cigarette packs. In 2017, Hawaii’s budget reflects spending 45% of the CDC recommended amount on tobacco prevention.

There are still an estimated 21,000 children now under the age of 18 who will eventually die early due to smoking. Since 2015, Hawaii’s amount of children becoming daily smokers each year has dropped by 50%, to 500 each year. Cost to the state of $526 million in annual health care cost is directly caused by smoking. However, with efforts to raise the tobacco age to 21 already taking hold, Hawaii is taking huge steps in the right direction, as well as being an example for the nation to follow. For more information you may contact:

Eric Brodell
Western Regional Director
Tobacco 21

Beverly May – Extremely well versed in the 21 issue, personally helped to engineer efforts in Hawaii.
Director Western States
Tobacco Free Kids

or visit our sources:

Twenty-One Reasons: “We are working to raise the age of sale for tobacco products in Hawai`i County to 21, reducing the harm that deadly tobacco products cause in our community. Please join us!”

Tobacco Free Kids Hawaii: “The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids is a leading force in the fight to reduce tobacco use and its deadly toll in the United States and around the world. Our vision: A future free of the death and disease caused by tobacco.”

American Lung Association State Report Card: “The ALA ‘State of Tobacco Control’ report tracks progress on key tobacco control policies at the state and federal levels, and assigns grades based on tobacco control laws and regulations in effect as of January 2, 2014.”

SLATI State Information Hawaii: “SLATI (State Legislated Actions on Tobacco Issues) is an extensively researched and invaluable source of information on tobacco control laws and policy, and is the only up-to-date and comprehensive summary of state tobacco control laws.”

The Preventing Tobacco Addiction Foundation and the Campaign For Tobacco Free Kids support these four principles for Tobacco 21 ordinances:

1) Include all tobacco and nicotine products, specifically e-cigarettes. The only exceptions would be FDA recognized nicotine replacement products (gum, patch, etc.) intended for cessation.
2) Include significant enforcement provisions against illegal sales as research shows that consistent enforcement is of critical importance.
3) Not include any pre-emption against local authority in more stringent regulation of tobacco or other nicotine product sales, secondhand smoke, or e-cigarette vapor.
4) Ideally not include possession, usage, or purchase (PUP) penalties that result in criminal records, and instead place the onus on the purveyors of these addictive products.

We welcome your comments and suggestions: Contact Us