The concept is called a generational smoking ban, or generational tobacco ban, and it’s beginning to gain steam in the U.S.

A 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 current minimum age to purchase tobacco products—currently, you must be at least 21-years-old—to a blanket policy. Anyone born prior to Jan. 1, 2003 would be able to purchase and consume these products; those born on Jan. 1, 2003 or after would never be able to legally consume or purchase 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.

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

Generational smoking bans seek to go one step further than minimum purchasing age requirements by drawing a line between who can use the products and who will never be able to. The concept was introduced in New Zealand in 2021 and was approved by that country’s government late last year.

Since then similar proposals have been introduced in California, Hawaii and Nevada, though none have passed yet. Historically, Hawaii has been amongst the least-friendly states towards tobacco. 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.

Overall Score

Avatar photo

Charlie Minato

I am an editor and co-founder of Media, LLC. I previously co-founded and published TheCigarFeed, one of the two predecessors of halfwheel. I have written about the cigar industry for more than a decade, covering everything from product launches to regulation to M&A. In addition, I handle a lot of the behind-the-scenes stuff here at halfwheel. I enjoy playing tennis, watching boxing, falling asleep to the Le Mans 24, wearing sweatshirts year-round and eating gyros. echte liebe.