Smoking Bans

Hawaii State Bill Would Raise Smoking Age to 100 by 2024

Rep. Richard Creagan declares cigarette sales the moral equivalent of slavery and murder.

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Stokkete/Dreamstime.com

Legislative attempts to restrict access to tobacco usually come with some overheated rhetoric. But nothing comes close to the language in a Hawaii bill that would raise the state's smoking age to 100, effectively banning the sale of cigarettes.

"The cigarette is considered the deadliest artifact in human history," declares HB 1509. The product, it continues, has "killed one hundred million people in the twentieth century and is likely to kill one billion people in the twenty-first century," giving the tobacco industry roughly the same body count as global communism.

The bill, introduced by Rep. Richard Creagan (D–South Kona/Ka'u), aims to halt this menace by raising the legal age for buying cigarettes to 30 in 2020, rising from there to 60 in 2023 and 100 in 2024. Retailers who sell cigarettes to underage Medicare recipients would be subject to fines of $500 per violation.

Cigars and e-cigarettes would be spared from these age restrictions. The bill would not prohibit those over the age of 21, the state's current smoking age, from merely possessing cigarettes.

You might think this sounds like a draconian restriction on consumer choice. But Creagan claims that that any free will smokers might believe they have is just an illusion.

"Banning the sales of cigarettes should be viewed as a good faith effort to free smokers from the enslavement of this powerful addiction and not an infringement on individual liberties," reads the bill. Creagan reiterated his belief that smokers are "enslaved" in an interview with the Hawaii Tribune-Herald.

Indeed, Creagan thinks lawmakers who fail to liberate these smokers could have blood on their hands. Reads the bill: "Although the deaths caused by cigarettes may not legally constitute murders, the legislature believes that the State's lack of action to prevent these deaths by banning the sale of cigarettes could, and perhaps should, be considered the moral equivalent to murder, or at the very least, of being an accessory to murder."

Most people would distinguish the violent taking of life from a gradual, self-imposed shortening of one's own lifespan. Indeed, people engage in all sorts of activities that could shorten their lifespan, from drinking to consuming sugar to tanning. If you look only at the negative consequences of those actions, and if you assume away individuals' ability to control their impulses or change their habits, then cigarettes are hardly the only worthy targets of government prohibition.

But people engage in risky behaviors for a reason—they derive pleasure or satiety from doing so. Treating harmful habits as a struggle between enslavement and emancipation, as opposed to a trade-off between indulgence and self-discipline, leaves little room for individual choice.

And then, of course, there are the practical downsides of Creagan's proposed prohibition. Banning or severely restricting something that people really want to consume is rarely an effective policy. U.S. states that adopt higher rates of taxation to deter smoking have experienced an increase in the rate of cigarette smuggling, according to a 2015 study by the Tax Foundation. More than half the cigarettes sold in New York state—which has some the highest tobacco taxes in country—were smuggled in from other states.

The Himalayan nation of Bhutan banned the sale of cigarettes in 2004. A 2011 study in the Journal of International Drug Policy found that the policy was largely a failure. "Arguments that stringent anti-tobacco tax and regulatory approaches including a sales prohibition will induce tobacco consumption to cease or nearly cease has not occurred," it said. The author added that "illegal tobacco smuggling including black market sales due to the sales ban in Bhutan remains robust."

Why any Hawaii lawmaker would think he'll be able to escape these effects of prohibition is a mystery.

Creagan's bill was introduced in late January. No hearings have been held on it yet.

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  1. The cigarette is considered the deadliest artifact in human history.

    No, government is.

    1. *applause*

    2. Been reading The Better Angels of Our Nature which begs to differ, in a sense. Lays out a good case for decreasing violence from hunter-gatherers to mini-states to the national states of today. Haven’t finished it yet, and I am curious as to what he sees for the future.

      He lists two triggers for the decrease in violence. One is the consolidation of petty states into bigger states, and seems obvious. The other is the change from zero-sum agrarian economies to what I would call industrial economies. With an agrarian economy, the only way to get richer is to make others poorer. With an industrial economy, better ways to make thread, cloth, and clothes led to efficiency gains which benefited everybody. Water and wind power helped some, but steam power was the big driver.

      So my “government is” statement is only true relative to other current causes of violence, but false relative to past societies.

      But government is by far the biggest current source of violence, especially taking into consideration how much government stifles economic progress which would make people healthier.

      1. With an agrarian economy, the only way to get richer is to make others poorer.

        Or get better at farming.

        1. Or find new forms of agrarian goods not in market and plant those.

          1. Or travel between the farms and facilitate trade between parties that may otherwise not have the chance.

      2. “One [trigger for the decrease in violence] is the consolidation of petty states into bigger states, and seems obvious.”

        Not hardly. On the contrary, the consolidation of states allowed for violence on scales never before dreamed of. Compare, for example, the levels of violence in the highly-fragmented Prussian states to the horrors of the Napoleanic Wars.

        Nor, by the way, is that comparison about agrarian to industrial economies true. Pinker is a very bright man and a compelling author but he is way, way out of his depth in historical reanalysis.

        1. Better Angels seems pretty solid to me. I am no expert, but you haven’t presented any alternative evidence.

          The level of violence, the homicide rate especially, are terrible for the hunter-gatherers. States may have killed more people in absolute terms, but per capita, they are pikers.

          1. How dare a poster not refute an entire book in a single comment on reason!

          2. To be blunt, Pinker’s data for that point are garbage. Not entirely his fault – the only data we have are either extrapolations from the few hunter-gatherer societies that survived to modern times (and which are a highly distorted subset) or the incomplete guesswork from the archeological record. The truth is that we don’t have any real idea what the violence rate was in prehistoric hunter-gatherer societies.

            We do have more recent data, however, and it does not support the “government consolidation leads to less violence” hypothesis.

            1. Actually, we do have limited data from archeological analyses, especially catalogs showing modes of death from skeletal remains. And some of those show very large portions of violent death.

      3. So, he totally ignores the 20th century, I take it?

        -jcr

    3. right after people, i don’t recall if there was a government when Cain killed his brother Abel

  2. Social liberalism at best.

    1. “…at it’s best “

      1. “… at its best.”

        1. “….a tits’ best.”

          1. “….a tit’s best.”

            1. “…beast tits.”

              1. His name was Robert Paulson.

                1. I love you guys.

                  1. You love beast tits?

    2. Nothing liberal about this. This is progressivism.

  3. Dog the Bounty Hunter hardest hit.

        1. lean-to mode

          1. Lent a toad.

            1. Smoke a chode

  4. “…at its best.”

  5. Creagan reiterated his belief that smokers are “enslaved” in an interview with the Hawaii Tribune-Herald.

    Where’s my reparations?

    1. The government sued big tobacco on your behalf and was awarded billions in damages. I’m sure they will cut you a check any day now.

      1. Because he could afford cigarettes even with punishing taxation, he clearly is not disadvantaged enough to deserve reparations. Reparations are more properly paid to those who were priced out of the tobacco market by the companies predatory pricing and profit driven behaviour.

        Surely this is obvious?

      2. To get a piece of that ‘settlement’ does one need to be a citizen, smoker, former smoker or part of the litigation team?

    2. Cause no one has ever quit smoking. Not ever.

    3. I suppose he would understand that dynamic. Democrats are the ultimate slavers.

      1. Statists — D and R alike — do not believe that the individual has any capacity to do good for him or herself. The only way good can be done for the person is by the exercise of state power, and since the last exercise of state power was ineffective the obvious answer is to exercise state power in more draconian fashion. And “the people” have become so conditioned to this that it is now virtually impossible to explain the fatal flaws in this cycle to the D/R majority.

  6. Nothing says freedom quite like banning stuff…

    1. these people have no ideas. all they know what to do is ban things by using government force.

    2. I can’t remember the last time I heard a politician say anything about freedom.

  7. At the risk of being pedantic, don’t cars kill more than cigarettes? And have every year since, well, cars became mainstream?

    1. I don’t know. I presume he’s using worldwide numbers. That is the only way I can even begin to imagine that you could get a 10x the number of deaths in the 21st century over the 20th.

    2. At the risk of being pedantic, don’t cars kill more than cigarettes? And have every year since, well, cars became mainstream?

      Smoking is bad for your health but inhaling the ash of you and your neighbor’s worldly possessions as they’re consumed by lava is just how things are done in Kona.

    3. About 36,000 people per year die in car accidents, while some 480,000 per year are attributed to cigarette smoking

      1. While those numbers do come from the CDC, they are not calculated on a like-for-like basis. Car accident deaths are those directly and proximately attributed to an automobile accident. The cigarette deaths, on the other hand, include all health conditions which were or might have been exacerbated by cigarette smoke. In other words, essentially all lung cancer deaths are accounted whether or not the patient also had other risk factors. While the CDC’s estimate of cardiac deaths was not 100%, the “but for” analysis generating their calculation of incremental deaths is statistically suspect.

        If, on the other hand, you calculated auto accident deaths using the same standards that they calculated cigarette deaths, you’d have to include everyone who died early from the incremental stress of the bad backs that come from driving too long, everyone who overate because cars make it more convenient to go to the grocery store, etc.

        1. Also, you have to consider age. Rule of thumb is that smoking a pack a day takes 5 years off the end of your life. Car crashes can take 80 years off the end.

        2. So basically, any smoker who dies of any illness is counted as having died due to smoking?

          1. That methodology HAS been used. It isn’t universal, so far as I know. But it is common.

            The Anti-Tobacco Crusade jumped the shark some time ago. An awful lot of its statistics evaporate under scrutiny. Not that smoking isn’t unhealthy. It is. It’s just a hell of a lot less unhealthy than, say, the Gay Lifestyle. Or riding a motorcycle.

            Smoking is a vice. All the hysteria over ‘secondhand smoke’ to the contrary, it is a vice that in large part only affects the user. How its eradication is any of the government’s goddamned business is beyond me. One might almost suspect that the politicians pushing this idiocy had a piece of the Black Market in smokes….

            But then, I also favor legalization of Marijuana, Opiates, and Prostitution.

      2. I loved Clerks!

  8. Still not as deadly as Marxism. Maybe you should outlaw that first you tyrant

  9. So a war on drugs… but for cigarettes.

    1. I work in a town where pot is legal but smoking cigarettes is illegal. i don’t understand their logic

      1. They have no logic.

        “This is the most logical course of action, because…” said no politician ever in the entire history of the universe.

      2. It’s simple: cigarettes are low-hanging fruit these days.

  10. “the legislature believes that the State’s lack of action to prevent these deaths by banning the sale of cigarettes could, and perhaps should, be considered the moral equivalent to murder”

    Too little, too late! Lock Creagan up!

  11. “Banning the sales of ______ should be viewed as a good faith effort to free _______ from the enslavement of this powerful addiction and not an infringement on individual liberties,”

    Prohibition Mad-Libs

    1. Food
      Humanity

      1. TV
        Internet
        Driving

        1. I forgot one:

          Breathing

    2. Breast implants
      Men

    3. beans
      the air we breath

  12. So 95-year-olds will get ‘carded’?

    1. You will only be five years away, Sevo!

    2. Sevo and Hihn not hit at all.

    3. If o go to Hawaii I will have no problem should I choose to buy cigarettes. As I self identify as a thousand year old half time lord, half kryptonian, Sexus Ranger billionaire.

      Only a goddamn racist will not respect my choice. And any Hawaiian not respecting that choice should have their life and career destroyed for their racism.

      1. So….gay or gender fluid? Asking for a fri… For me, ok?

        1. Depends on which regeneration I’m on.

        2. Never you mind about my gender fluids

  13. Kona… Hawaii?

    Like the only place more ironic to ban smoking now would be Paradise, CA.

  14. Cigars … would be spared from these age restrictions.

    “Banning the sale of cigars could, and perhaps should, be considered the moral equivalent to armed robbery.”

    1. sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, but all of the time it is a Freudian thing too.

  15. But Creagan claims that that any free will smokers might believe they have is just an illusion.

    What is Creagan smoking, and would it be covered by this ban?

  16. The worst part of this is they clearly don’t think they can get away with an actual de jure ban of cigarettes, so they do all they can to create a de facto ban.

    Can’t ban handguns? Make it as hard as possible to own one
    Can’t ban abortions? Make it as hard as possible to get one
    Can’t be cigarettes? Make it as hard as possible to buy them

    Its like the mentality of a 5 year old being told not to touch something, so he hovers his finger as close as he can without actually “touching” it

    1. 5 year olds are so unsophisticated.

      I’m not touching you, the (insert object of your choice here) is touching you. 🙂

      1. “We’re not preventing you from buying cigarettes, your age is”

    2. Time to fire up the old printer and start cranking out some 101 year old McLovin IDs.

      1. That’s like a sexy hamburger with a stoma.

  17. The Himalayan nation of Bhutan banned the sale of cigarettes in 2004.

    Figures. Cultural appropriation.

  18. This sounds like a joke, or should be. Sadly this progtard is 100% serious. You can bet they will ban cigars,vapes, and all other tobacco and nicotine too in a few years-all part of their plan.

    1. The legalization of Marijuana left a gap in the ability of the minions of the state to arbitrarily kidnap and brutalize the public. If tobacco prohibition doesn’t make up the lost looting revenue, they’ll start fining people for hurting the SJWs poor widdle feewings.

      -jcr

  19. Well, in base 4, that would be age 16 decimal. Age 25, if we’re using base 5.

    1. Clearly its binary, they intend for 4 years olds to smoke

      1. Third base…

  20. Can they raise the minimum age to run for political office to 100? I’d probably support that. Older, wiser, and dead people could cause a lot less trouble for the rest of us.

    1. They ought to raise the minimum age to run for political office to 1024.

    2. Have you seen Chicago’s dead voting record?

  21. If they pass this law, I can’t wait to see the mental gymnastics they’ll be forced to do with weed, alcohol, fast food, and everything else (especially their beloved Hawaiian barbeque). After all, if you can ban something because it’s bad for your health, you can’t just stop at cigarettes.

    1. Don’t forget Spam (the product, not the internet crap)

    1. The Vermont House on Friday passed legislation that would impose a 92 percent tax on e-cigarettes as a way to dissuade teens from vaping.

      Gotta love, encourage the establishment of a black market, because of course its always harder for teens to get things on the black market

  22. Also, the law will punish the possession of one Newport cigarette at a mandatory minimum of 5 years, while a truckload of Marlboro’s will get you a citation.

    1. Only because Newport is in Rhode Island. Defend the homeland!

  23. “Banning the sales of cigarettes should be viewed as a good faith effort to free smokers from the enslavement of this powerful addiction and not an infringement on individual liberties,” reads the bill.

    So is this a new thing? Legislation that tells you what you should think about it?

  24. Likely to kill a billion people”

    you would think that would make the climate change thugs happy since they all believe the main problem is to many people in the first place

  25. Why any Hawaii lawmaker would think he’ll be able to escape these effects of prohibition is a mystery.

    Well, it is a chain of islands. Smuggling in smokes will be a much bigger logistical challenge then, say, smuggling a pack from Massachusetts to New York.

    And even then, the price of the black-market smokes is bound to much, much higher as a consequence.

    And that said, sparing cigars and e-cigs means that most folks would probably just switch rather then deal with the black-market.

    So it wouldn’t be 100% effective, but it’d do much better then similar bans tried elsewhere. Advantages of being a remote island in the middle of nowhere.

    1. Well, it is a chain of islands. Smuggling in smokes will be a much bigger logistical challenge then, say, smuggling a pack from Massachusetts to New York.

      Not really. At least, not immediately. Find a suppliers in cigarette friendly states. Have them buy a variety of cartons from Sam’s, Costco, or similar. Then have them shipped to Hawaii via UPS.

      After all, people willing to smuggle cigarettes likely aren’t terribly concerned about the legality of shipping tobacco products via parcel post. Even though it is not legal, UPS even says, “. . . but it remains the Shipper’s responsibility to determine whether packages it tenders to UPS for transportation contain Tobacco Products as defined therein.

  26. “”The cigarette is considered the deadliest artifact in human history,” declares HB 1509.”

    Hmmm, I know what my response will be the next time the Left wants to ban guns.

    1. Or nukes.

  27. Wouldn’t it be sweetly ironic if 80-year-olds in Hawaii had to call on the National Youth Rights Association to protect their freedom to buy cigarettes? Just sayin’.

    1. Or AARP?

  28. It always does my heart good to see the totalitarian left exposed for what they are.

  29. Murder or suicide?

  30. The Hawaiians get it right.
    Start smoking when you’re 100, the same age you can start enjoying sugar, liquor, sex, TV, the beach, sports, books, movies, and clean clothes.
    Someone, somewhere had to get the ball rolling, and I’m glad to see it is our island state is prudent enough to launch such progressive ideas on the unenlightened masses.

  31. Is it April 1st already? I’m stunned at the childishness.

  32. I don’t understand! We made it illegal and people are still doing it! How is this possible!?

  33. So the left wants to kill babies but not allow you to buy a legal product.

    Um k.

  34. It would be foolish to pass the bill if for no other reason than it would hurt the tourism industry.

    1. Nothing prohibits a tourist from bringing cigarettes with them from the mainland, so that’s an easy way to feed black market and your Hawaiian vacation pays for itself if you can bring enough

  35. Raise the age to be a politician to 420.

  36. Hawaii should pass that law. Since many people will be driven to suicide and since cigarette addiction is apparently impossible to overcome, Hawaii will need another law one that would make attempted suicide a capital offense.

  37. a big FUCK YOU ASSHOLE to Rep. Richard Creagan (D?South Kona/Ka’u)

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  40. Also, anyone caught selling loosies will be punished with strangulation by cop.

  41. Yikes, Hawaii may have just stolen the ‘Nanny State’ crown from California. Starts with cigarettes then moves to alcohol, soft drinks, cheese burgers – the targets are endless . . .

  42. This is why governmental power has to be highly restricted. When government is given the power to restrict a citizens rights/access its only a matter of time before a politician comes along who decides their morality is superior and that they must use the power of the state to force that superior belief onto the rest of the citizenry. I wonder how this politician would like it if a hard core Christian elected to office decided it was in everyone’s best interest to make out of marriage sexual relationships illegal because “Its the right thing to do”.

    The arrogance of these politicians never ceases to amaze me.

  43. Another piece of legislation that proves freedom & liberty hating demoRATs want to micromanage every aspect of the populaces lives. What’s this bozos stance on marijuana?? When lawmakers outlaw products there’s only one guarantee it’s that they become more expensive in the black market.

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