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Book 'em Danno! No smoking under 21

Published 25/04/2015

Hawaii is poised to become the first US state to ban smoking under the age of 21
Hawaii is poised to become the first US state to ban smoking under the age of 21

A history-making bill that would make Hawaii the first US state to raise the legal smoking age to 21 is heading to the governor.

It is unclear whether David Ige will sign the measure and a spokeswoman for the politician said he was not immediately available for comment.

The bill would prevent adolescents from smoking, buying or possessing traditional and electronic cigarettes.

Those caught breaking the rules would be fined 10 dollars (£6.60) for the first offence and subsequent breaches would lead to a 50-dollar (£33) fine or mandatory community service.

"It's definitely ground-breaking legislation," said Jessica Yamauchi, executive director of the Coalition for a Tobacco Free Hawaii, which pushed for the move. "It's amazing to be the first state in something. That's very exciting for us."

Some local governments have similar bans, including Hawaii County and New York City.

According to the state's department of heath, 5,600 children in Hawaii try smoking each year, and 90% of daily puffers begin the habit before they are 19. Meanwhile, 1,200 people die from tobacco use or exposure in Hawaii every year.

But opponents say it is unfair that a military veteran returning from service could be prevented from smoking.

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