Gov. David Ige said he wanted to take enough time to ensure that the tobacco purchase age increase bill passed by the state’s legislature in April was properly vetted by his staff and that they could ensure that no legal issues were likely to arise before he signed it and made it an official law. Yesterday, it was clear that enough time had passed and the law had the muster to avoid legal challenges, as the governor affixed his signature to the bill and officially raised the minimum age to purchase tobacco products from 18 to 21-years-old.
With Gov. Ige’s signature, the change moves forward and goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2016.
Both tobacco retailers and consumers will be subject to penalties for violations: anyone under 21 caught buying tobacco or electronic cigarettes would be subject to a $10 fine for the first offense, with each subsequent offense carrying a $50 fine or community service. Retailers would have much heftier fines levied on them for selling to minors: $500 for the first offense and $500 to $2,000 for each violation thereafter.
The governor also signed HB525, which bans smoking, tobacco products and the use of electronic smoking devices in all state parks and beaches, a law that goes into effect on July 1, 2015.