Smoking cigarettes is no longer socially acceptable. Puffing away ceased to be socially acceptable about 20 years ago. During the bulk of the 20th century, over half the population of the United States smoked. Smoking was a common social practice and taking a first-time puff on a cigarette was a right of passage. In Hawaii, anyone who wishes to engage in that social practice has to wait an additional three years.
Hawaii is now the first state to officially raise the age to purchase tobacco to 21 says Dr. Jennifer Walden. The state also raised the age to purchase electronic cigarettes to 21 as well. Will other states follow? California may be the very next one since its legislature is considering bumping the legal age to purchase tobacco products (and maybe e-cigarettes) to 21 as well.
Decades ago, people ignored the health hazards associated with smoking. Yes, for many years, people were unaware that smoking contributed to any illnesses. Even when connections to cancer and heart disease were revealed, the number of people who chose not to smoke was minimal. It took years and years for people to truly realize the dangers associated with cigarettes. The revelation of the unethical practices of tobacco companies might have been the final factor the turned new generations away from smoking. Eventually, the popularity of smoking greatly diminished.
As laws became more and more restrictive, younger people found barriers to buying cigarettes. People who start smoking do so when very young. Older people are not likely to take up the habit. By raising the smoking age to 21, Hawaii may have dealt a major blow to the tobacco companies’ ability to procure new customers.