Is Raising the Smoking Age Beneficial?


Shaun McDonnell, News Editor

Hawaii, a state known for its vivid views and luscious landscapes, is now headlined to be the first state proposing a bill that would raise the smoking age to 100 by 2024. Since 1987, many people are used to the smoking age of 18 but will be audaciously surprised as other states may follow Hawaii’s new smoking policy. Over the next five years, Hawaii wants to incrementally raise the smoking age until it is at age 100 in 2024. Hawaii, obviously, does not want tobacco to be consumed on their islands anymore.

Democrat Dr. Richard Creagan, a Hawaii State Representative who graduated from Yale University with a degree in biology and later graduated from medical school, does not believe taxation and health warnings are enough to make smoking a thing of the past. He took matters into his own hands and proposed a bill to the state legislature advertently banning smoking in the state of Hawaii. E-cigarettes and cigars are left out of the bill because Dr. Creagan believes they are significantly safer for smokers than regular cigarettes.

“The legislature also finds that smoking has killed one hundred million people in the twentieth century and is likely to kill one billion people in the twenty-first century … In Hawaii, cigarettes have caused more preventable disease, death, and disability than any other health issue, each year claiming the lives of more than one thousand four hundred adults and contributing to more than twenty thousand premature deaths of minors,” states the proposed legislative bill written by Dr. Creagan.


Dr. Creagan who calls the cigarette, “the deadliest artifact in human history” has seen the atrocious effects of tobacco when he worked as an emergency room doctor. Many parents agree with Dr. Creagan, as they also believe that cigarettes are highly addictive and lethal.


“I think this bill will lower the usage of cigarettes but will not fully ban them,” parent Mike McDonnell said. “The question is how are they going to enforce it. If someone has been smoking for fifty years, they will get a lawyer and say it’s unconstitutional. The law may prevent new users to not start smoking, but people who already smoke are not going to stop because they are addicted.”  

This bill also poses some negative concerns. If the bill passes, this means that most cigarette companies will go out of business, resulting in thousands of people becoming unemployed. Even though smoking is the top cause of preventable disease and death in the country, there is no known effective way to enforce a ban on cigarettes. As seen throughout history, prohibition has not been an effective strategy. For this reason, students believe that this bill is not a good idea.


“If this bill is passed, it will cause millions of dollars in spending toward a cause that is unpreventable. Just like the wasted money on the ban on drugs, people will always purchase cigarettes illegally.  Let people face the consequences of smoking and learn the hard way that they need to stop or bad things will happen to them.” Current Cherry Creek senior and future MIT student Will Gillies said.