Hawaii poised to become 1st state to raise smoking age to 21

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HONOLULU (AP – April 24, 2015) — Lawmakers have passed a bill that would make Hawaii the first state to raise the legal smoking age to 21.

The measure cleared its final legislative hurdle Friday with approval from the state Senate. It now goes to Gov. David Ige for his decision.

A spokeswoman for Ige said he wasn’t immediately available for comment.

The bill prevents adolescents from smoking, buying or possessing traditional and electronic cigarettes. Those caught breaking the rules would face fines or community service.

Supporters say 90 percent of daily smokers begin the habit before age 19.

Opponents say it’s unfair that a veteran returning from military service could be prevented from smoking.

Hawaii County and New York City have similar bans.

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