KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii — A bill aimed at raising the minimum age to purchase tobacco and electronic smoking devices has stalled in the state House of Representatives.
The bill proposed to make it illegal for anyone younger than 25 to buy the products, West Hawaii Today reported Sunday.
Democratic Reps. Richard Creagan and John Mizuno, the chairman of the House Committee on Health, introduced the bill that was unanimously passed by the health committee on Feb. 4.
The measure also passed a full reading on the House floor but did not secure required hearings before the House Judiciary and Finance committees. The bill subsequently missed a deadline for moving bills with multiple referrals to a final committee.
The bill cited the harmful effect of nicotine on developing brains, particularly youth and young adults and unborn children, as well as a study by the Institute of Medicine that found raising the minimum purchase age led to decreases in smoking prevalence and mortality.
The proposal has not necessarily met its end in this legislative session, Creagan said.
“I think it’s going to go forward, in just a new format,” Creagan said, who added he was surprised the bill died despite support from Finance Committee Chairwoman Rep. Sylvia Luke, a Democrat.
Creagan added: “I’m not sure exactly what Chair Luke has in mind, but it’s probably some type of gut and replace."
The gut-and-replace legislative maneuver that strips a bill of its original content and replaces it with new legislation was used in 2016 when the tobacco age was increased to 21, Creagan said.
Luke could not immediately be reached for comment.