Hawaiians have come up with a creative way to curb smoking – they want to raise the legal age to 100.
The “Aloha State” is already a leader in the campaign against smoking; it was the first American State to raise the age for smoking cigarettes to 21.
But now, legislation aims to go much further by making it illegal for anyone under the age of 100 to smoke.
The plan is to phase out smoking in the State all together within five years.
The bipartisan bill states that cigarettes cause more preventable disease, death, and disability than any other health issue and that they are considered the “deadliest artifact in human history”.
If successful, the bill will introduce new laws that will raise the minimum smoking age dramatically, and by 2024 make it illegal for all but centenarians to puff on the cancer sticks.
Republican co-sponsor of the bill, Cynthia Thielen, said the aim was to “keep people healthy and alive in the Aloha State,” and is reported in the Washington Post acknowledging that getting the bill passed would be a challenge.
“(It is an) initial push to say ‘this is important. We need to act on it.’,” she said.
Democrat co-sponsor, Richard Creagan, told the Hawaii Tribune-Herald he thought the bill had a good chance of being passed because legislators were obliged to protect people’s health.
“In my view, you are taking people who are enslaved from a horrific addiction, and freeing people from horrific enslavement. We, as legislators, have a duty to do things to save people’s lives. If we don’t ban cigarettes, we are killing people,” he said.
“Basically, we essentially have a group who are heavily addicted – in my view, enslaved by a ridiculously bad industry – which has enslaved them by designing a cigarette that is highly addictive, knowing that it highly lethal. And, it is.
“This is more lethal, more dangerous than any prescription drug, and it is more addicting.”
According to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, cigarettes are the leading preventable cause of death in the United States.
They lead to the deaths of more than 480,000 people across the America each year.
The CDCP states that cigarette smoking has been linked to 90 per cent of all lung cancer deaths and 80 per cent of all deaths from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Most adult smokers began smoking as teenagers, but research shows that smokers who quit between ages 35 and 44 improve their health and potential lifespan significantly.