Hawaii lawmakers push ban on youth smoking

Associated Press

HONOLULU (AP) - Hawaii lawmakers are pushing for tougher laws to curb tobacco use in the Aloha State.

State Sen. Rosalyn Baker wants to prohibit tobacco use and possession for people under age 18.

She also wants to impose a $3.20 excise tax per net ounce of tobacco.

Senate health committee Chair Josh Green supports the initiatives and has introduced several additional bills aimed at preventing youth from smoking.

Green says the health consequences of tobacco use place an incredible strain on the state budget.

Hawaii Smoking Alliance co-chair Micheal Zehner says he opposes more taxes on tobacco products. He says enough is enough.

The Coalition for Tobacco Free Kids reports Hawaii had the fourth highest cigarette excise tax in the nation in December 2012.

The state also bans smoking in public places.

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