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Hawaii becomes first state to enact law raising legal smoking age to 21

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HONOLULU (AP) — Hawaii’s governor has signed a bill to make his state the first to raise the legal smoking age to 21.

The measure aims to prevent adolescents from smoking, buying or possessing both traditional and electronic cigarettes. Gov. David Ige signed it Friday.

Dozens of local governments have similar bans, including Hawaii County and New York City.

Supporters say most daily smokers begin the habit before age 19. But opponents say it’s unfair that a veteran returning from military service could be prevented from smoking.

Those caught breaking the rules would be fined $10 for the first offense. Later violations would lead to a $50 fine or mandatory community service.

The bill goes into effect on the first day of 2016.


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