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Legal age for buying tobacco and vaping products was raised from 18 to 21 in Hawai'i on January 1, 2016 (Image Fotolia)

We were writing about it in some of our last posts of the year as a nation First in the US: Hawai’i State’s Governor David Ige signed a law, last June, that prohibits smoking and the use of tobacco products in all state parks and beaches.

“Raising the minimum age as part of our comprehensive tobacco control efforts will help reduce tobacco use among our youth and increase the likelihood that our keiki -kids- will grow up tobacco-free,” said Governor Ige when signing the law.

The law that came into effect on January 1, 2016, in the Aloha State restricts the sales of tobacco products to persons above 21 years old and sets the vaping products to the same regime as tobacco. The authorities already warned that a short grace period will aim at educating the population but they expect the law to be rapidly enforced.

Buying tobacco or e-cigarette products requires to show a valid ID and retailers caught selling to those under 21 will face a $500 fine with an increase up to $2000 for multiple violations. Anyone under the legal age who tries to purchase tobacco products or e-cigarettes can be fined up to $50 after multiple offenses or do up to 72 hours of community service.

The new law has been well accepted by the vaping community since most of the customers are above the age of 40, on average. The new restrictions are then not supposed to affect the well established vaping market in the archipelago.

The Rainbow State also hosts an important military community in which the restrictions on tobacco products -more than on the e-cigarette side- may not be welcome. Since January 1, shore-based Navy and Marine Corps Exchanges in Hawaii ceased the sale of tobacco products to anyone under the age of 21. This also affects Coast Guard personnel, who can shop at these exchanges.