1 State Steps Forward to Raise the Smoking Age

As the dangers of tobacco use become more widely understood, anti-smoking advocates are reaching out to government officials for help in curbing the numbers. With nearly a dozen deadly forms of cancer linked to the habit, along with a host of other potential health concerns, the need to encourage smokers to quit is high and so is the need to dissuade potential new smokers from lighting up in the first place.

Enter the State of Hawaii. Gov. David Ige recently lent his unwavering support to the movement to get people to avoid picking up the habit in the first place. Ige in June signed a bill into law that essentially bans the sale of cigarettes to anyone under the age of 21 in that state. With an estimated 86 percent of all adult smokers in Hawaii reporting they began doing so prior to age 21, the hope is the new age will reduce the number of new tobacco users as time moves forward.

While some have argued the new law is unfair since military service can begin at 18, anti-smoking activists point to the number of smoking-related deaths to bolster their argument. The American Cancer Society, in fact, estimates that about half of all deaths associated with smoking-linked cancers are attributed to tobacco use. By curbing the use numbers, researchers believe they can curb the number of deaths caused by lung, bronchial, tracheal, stomach, colorectal and other forms of cancer.

Whether opponents of the law like it or not, the measure goes into action on Jan. 1, 2016. Only time will tell if the legislation has the desired impact in helping reduce the negative impacts smoking can have on health.

People who smoke are urged to discuss the habit with their healthcare providers. Quitting can have profoundly positive impacts on health and may reduce the risks of cancer, high blood pressure, heart disease and other known killers.

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