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Law signed raising tobacco buying age to 21 on Big Island

Published On: Dec 20 2013 08:53:03 AM HST

Big Island Mayor Billy Kenoi signed the tobacco age-buying bill into law Thursday.

HILO, Hawaii -

On the Big Island, Mayor Billy Kenoi  just signed a law that raises the tobacco buying age from 18 to 21.

The ceremonial bill signing took place at the Mayor's office.

The law Iincludes the sale of e-cigarettes.

The Hawaii County Council unanimously passed the bill last month, saying it's in the best interest of public health and safety.

"What this new law is is it's a prevention tool," said Sally Ancheta of the Coalition for a Tobacco-Free Hawaii. "It's a tool to help with youth, who many of them start smoking middle school, not become daily users when they turn 18."

The law prohibits the sale of tobacco products to customers under 21-years-old, but would allow people 18 and over to smoke.

Stores that sell to customers under 21 would be fined up to $2,000.

The law goes into effect July 1, 2014.

But if you're 18 before it takes effect, you'll still be able to make purchases.

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