Big Island restricting tobacco sales to 21 and up

Published On: Nov 21 2013 01:46:01 PM HST   Updated On: Nov 21 2013 03:05:47 PM HST

HILO, Hawaii -

Big Island lawmakers have agreed to raise the age minimum for buying tobacco to 21, making Hawaii County the first in the state to make the age older than 18.

The Hawaii Tribune-Herald reported Thursday that Mayor Billy Kenoi is expected to sign a bill passed unanimously by the county council on Wednesday.

The measure would take effect July 1 and allow people over age 18 currently to buy tobacco.

The bill would not make it illegal for people older than 18 to smoke. But those who sell to customers under 21 would be subject to fines ranging from $500 to $2,000.

The bill includes electronic cigarettes.

Two towns in Massachusetts and New York City have passed similar laws. Texas is also considering it.

Opponents to the law say it could spur illegal sales.

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