Two Groundbreaking Tobacco Laws in the Works
We’ve come a long way, baby. Fewer Americans than ever before are smoking cigarettes, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reporting last November that the smoking rate dropped from 20.9 percent in 2005 to an all-time low of 17.8 percent in 2013.
Not only that, more Americans than ever say they’re simply grossed out by the habit.
NOLA is Snuffing out Tobacco
Most states have outright banned smoking in restaurants and bars, while the practice is increasingly frowned upon by most people…especially when it comes to smoking in their homes or while attending other social events.
There are also two new bills on the books that further drive the point across. Last January, the “party city” of New Orleans unanimously passed a sweeping ban on both tobacco and e-cigarettes in most locations throughout the city. The only exceptions to the New Orleans ban are private establishments, tobacco shops, parking lots and cigar/hookah bars that were established before January 2015.
City Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell created the bill after being moved by the story of Mervin Lewis, a 77-year-old casino employee and n0n-smoker who contracted lung cancer from secondhand smoke exposure at his work.
The opposition to this bill was minor and came from council members Jared Brossett and Nadine Ramsey, who supported the bill while also expressing concerns over the potential economic impact.
A Smoke Free Paradise
Meanwhile, Hawaii lawmakers will soon vote on a potentially groundbreaking new bill. This tropical paradise is on track to become the first state ever to raise the legal smoking age from 18 to 21.
The bill would ban the sale, use and possession of cigarettes and e-cigarettes to anyone under that age. First-time offenders would receive a $10 fine, while second-time offenders would receive a $50 fine or be required to complete some form of community service.
If approved, Hawaii’s cigarette bill would go into effect at the beginning of 2016.
These new bills are especially important because, despite the overall population of smokers continuing to drop, too many people are still picking up the habit.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed that e-cigarette use among middle and high school students tripled within 12 months, while 2.3 million children and young adults started smoking in 2012.
If you’re a new smoker, it’s best to quit before the habit gets out of hand. There are plenty of over-the-counter anti-smoking products to help you quit and free support groups within most cities.
Additional Reading: Smoking Around Kids is More Dangerous than You Think
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