A pair of Honolulu City Council members have introduced a bill that would raise the minimum age to purchase tobacco from 18 to 21 years of age on the island of Oahu.
The bill was introduced at the July 24 council meeting by council member Stanley Chang and council chair Ernie Martin. Should it end up being passed, it would raise the minimum age to purchase tobacco products and electronic smoking devices from 18 to 21 years of age, though it also allows for anyone who is 18-years-old before December 31 to continue buying tobacco products despite the change.
The ordinance appears to put penalties on both buyer and seller, as retailers would face penalties of $100 for the first offense, $250 for the second offense, and $500 for the third and all subsequent offenses for not posting adequate signage regarding the minimum purchase age. Those under 21 who attempt to purchase tobacco products or electronic smoking devices would face penalties of $20 for the first offense, $50 for subsequent violations as well as possible community service.
The first reading of the bill is scheduled for August 13, and if passed would go into effect on January 1, 2015.
On July 1, Hawaii County, which covers the Big Island, raised the minimum age to purchase tobacco products to 21 in a similar manner.
Honolulu is home to approximately 375,000 residents.