Hawaii Lawmakers Propose Tobacco ‘Endgame’ Bill

Credit: Oleksandra Voinova

Generational bans on vaping and other tobacco products are becoming more popular with lawmakers.

A new bill introduced in the Hawaii Senate would make it illegal for anyone born after 2002 to possess, purchase or use tobacco or vaping products. 

S.B. 148 would change the state’s tobacco rules to deny anyone born after to Jan. 1, 2003, from purchasing and consuming these products.

The rules would only apply while in Hawaii, meaning out-of-state visitors would need to comply with Hawaii’s laws, though Hawaii residents would not be subject to the laws while visiting other states, reports Halfwheel.

Those caught selling or providing tobacco or vaping products would be subject to the existing fine structure for selling to those under 21: $500 for a first offense, and $500-$2,000 for any offense after that.

In addition, anyone born after 2002 caught violating the law as a consumer would be subject to a $10 fine for the first offense, a $50 fine for a subsequent offense, or the option to do between 48-72 hours of community service.

If passed, the change would take effect on Jan. 1, 2024. S.B. 148 currently has six sponsors.

The concept was introduced in New Zealand in 2021 and was approved by that country’s government late last year. It has also been proposed in Malaysia.

Since then similar proposals have been introduced in California, Hawaii and Nevada, though none have been passed.

In 2015, Hawaii became the first to increase the minimum age to purchase tobacco products to 21 years old, which has since become the federal standard.

In 2019, Hawaiian lawmakers proposed a bill that would slowly increase the age to purchase tobacco products starting with raising the minimum age for buying cigarettes from 21 to 30 in 2020.

By 2022, no one under 50 would have been able to buy cigarettes.