A bill introduced in the Hawaii Senate would make it illegal for anyone born after 2002 to possess, buy or use tobacco or e-cigarette products, foreign sources said today.
SB 148 would change the state’s current minimum age for buying tobacco products – currently, you must be at least 21 – into a blanket policy. Anyone born before 1 2003 can buy and consume these products, and anyone born after will never be able to legally consume or buy them. The rules apply only while in Hawaii, meaning out-of-state visitors are required to follow Hawaii’s laws, but Hawaii residents are not subject to the law when visiting other states.
This concept is called generational smoking ban, or intergenerational tobacco ban, and it’s starting to catch on in the United States.
Those caught selling or offering tobacco or vape products will be subject to the existing fine structure for selling to people under 21: $500 for the first offense and $500- $2,000 for any subsequent violations. In addition, any consumer born after 2002 who is found to have broken the law will be fined $10 for a first offense, $50 for a second offense, or have the option to perform 48 to 72 hours of community service.
If approved, the change would take effect in 2024. The bill now has six sponsors, all Democrats.
Generational smoking bans attempt to go further than the minimum age for purchase requirement by drawing a line between who can use a product and who can never use it. The concept was introduced in New Zealand in 2021 and was approved by the country’s government late last year.
Since then, similar proposals have been introduced in California, Hawaii and Nevada, though they have not yet passed. Historically, Hawaii has been one of the least tobacco-friendly states. Hawaii was the first to raise the minimum age to buy tobacco products to 21 in 2015, which has since become the federal standard.