There was a lot of talk surrounding the Vermont House’s recent passage of a bill seeking to impose a 92% (yes, you read that correctly) tax on e-cigarettes in an attempt to dissuade vaping, particularly by teens which is becoming a large health concern in this state, as I am sure it is also elsewhere. Our governor has indicated his support of such a tax and there are also other bills in the pipeline to raise the legal smoking age to 21 and another one to prevent the internet sale of vaping products into the state.
Another state is looking at, well, a more creative way to curb tobacco use among its population. Today, news out of Hawaii indicates that legislators are considering a bill that would raise the legal smoking age to 100. Yes, 100 years of age. Right now, how many 100 year olds are out there? The bill proposed by legislator Richard Creagan (that’s Dr. Richard Creagan, by the way) would raise the smoking age incrementally from its current legal age of 21 to 30 next year, and then in 10-year increments each of the following years until 2024, when the age would jump from 60 years of age to 100 years of age.
Fascinatingly, Hawaii was also the first state to raise its legal smoking age to 21 in 2017. Might it be the first again?
Controversial? Of course it is and it will be met with opposition I am sure by the tobacco industry and civil rights advocates. Interestingly, though this bill does not apply to the area that concerns Vermont the most, the vaping and e-cigarettes. It also does not apply to cigars according to the BBC report.
But something to ponder – while there may not be a significant number of 100 year olds living in Hawaii right now, could raising the smoking age to 100 by 2024, actually increase that demographic considerably? Hmmm…something to consider.