Hawaii is now officially the first state in the nation to require a person to be 21 years or older to purchase or possess cigars and other tobacco products.
The new law, which was signed by Gov. David Ige last summer, went into effect on January 1. The measure restricts anyone under the age of 21 from purchasing cigars, snuff, pipe and chewing tobacco, and electronic smoking devices. Additionally, the law states that anyone under 21 can't be in possession of tobacco in public.
Violators of the new law, which will be enforced by local and state law enforcement, will be fined $10 for their first offense, and subsequent offenses can be penalized by fines up to $50. Offenders may also be required to perform up to 72 hours of community service.
Businesses who knowingly sell to a person under 21 years old will be fined $500 for the first offense, with fines of up to $2,000 for any subsequent offenses.
Raising the minimum age to purchase tobacco products to 21 years old is becoming something of a trend among U.S. municipalities. As of mid-December, at least 115 localities in nine states—including New York City, Boston, Cleveland and both Kansas Cities—have increased the tobacco-purchase age to 21. Currently, California lawmakers are debating legislation that would raise its legal tobacco-sale age to 21, and several other states look to be following suit.
This article first appeared in the January 5, 2016 issue of Cigar Insider.