Will Smoking Become Illegal? Hawaii Tests The Waters
ROBERTSON COUNTY TENNESSEE: (Smokey Barn News) – Parked in the middle of tobacco country, Smokey Barn News is likely the only news agency in the United States, or perhaps the world that literally gets its name from the tobacco industry. Now, as tobacco becomes more and more unpopular (at least legislatively) is America ready to outlaw it altogether? If one lawmaker in Hawaii has his way, yes.
Hawaii State Representative Richard Creagan has filed a new bill (HB 1509) that has, at its heart, the ultimate goal of making cigarettes illegal, at least in Hawaii.
According to wording in the new proposed bill, continuing to sell cigarettes is “the moral equivalent to murder.”
“The legislature finds that the cigarette is considered the deadliest artifact in human history. The cigarette is an unreasonably dangerous and defective product, killing half of its long-term users. Further, although the cigarette is addictive by design due to the presence of nicotine, the tobacco industry has further manipulated the design of cigarettes in order to increase cigarette addiction and habituation. The legislature also finds that smoking has killed one hundred million people in the twentieth century and is likely to kill one billion people in the twenty-first century,” the bill reads.
Using a progressive method, the bill slowly raises the legal age you have to be to buy cigarettes going all the way up to age 100, though the bill premise states that a smoker is not likely to reach 100. Here’s how the bill outlines the progression. “January 1, 2020, it shall be unlawful to sell or furnish cigarettes to a person under thirty years of age. Effective July 1, 2021, it shall be unlawful to sell or furnish cigarettes to a person under forty years of age. Effective July 1, 2022, it shall be unlawful to sell or furnish cigarettes to a person under fifty years of age. Effective July 1, 2023, it shall be unlawful to sell or furnish cigarettes to a person under sixty years of age. Effective July 1, 2024, it shall be unlawful to sell or furnish cigarettes to a person under one hundred years of age. Here’s the entire bill if you’d like the long version.
“In 2018, Hawaii banned the sales of cigarettes to those under twenty-one years of age.
“We are killing people by not acting. Although the deaths caused by cigarettes may not legally constitute murders, the legislature believes that the State’s lack of action to prevent these deaths by banning the sale of cigarettes could, and perhaps should, be considered the moral equivalent to murder, or at the very least, of being an accessory to murder.”
The bill also addresses the taxes generated from cigarettes, which may be part of the reason for the gradual age based elimination process. It will give the state time to replace the funds. “Legislature also finds that the State is suffering from its own addiction to cigarettes in the form of the large sums of money that the State receives from state cigarette sales taxes, with the tax revenues recently reaching more than $100,000,000 per year. Therefore, while it would be ideal and would save more lives to ban the sale of cigarettes to all ages immediately, the legislature believes that a more gradual ban, focused initially on younger age groups most likely to benefit from a ban on cigarette sales, will allow the State to be weaned from this addiction and find sources to replace these funds.”
For farmers producing smokeless tobacco, the news is a little better. Non-combustible tobacco, as well as cigars and e-cigarettes, will be excluded from the bill. “While other combustible tobacco products such as cigars are also harmful, smoke from these products are usually not inhaled and they are therefore less harmful than cigarettes. The legislature also finds that non-combustible tobacco products are generally less harmful than cigarettes. Further, e-cigarettes differ from regular cigarettes in that they have a much lower carcinogenic potential than cigarettes and are therefore also excluded from this Act.”
As the battle takes shape, it will likely be, do smokers have the right to smoke? Only time will tell if this bill is destined to fail or if it represents a new trend that will ultimately end an industry. You can bet the tobacco industry will do all it can to try and save itself from a future that has already pushed its customers into the alley. Tell us what you think in comments.
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