File picture: Pixabay

New York - One Hawaii lawmaker wants to make sure only centenarians are allowed to buy cigarettes.

Representative Richard Creagan, a Democrat, has introduced a new bill that lays out an effective ban on cigarette sales by 2024, but not quite.

Instead, Creagan's plan is to set the purchase age at 30 in 2020, 40 in 2021, 50 in 2022, 60 in 2023 and then jump to 100 in 2024.

The smoking age is currently set at 21 in Hawaii. Most states allow 18-year-olds to buy them, while six states make people wait until 21.

"Basically, we essentially have a group who are heavily addicted - in my view, enslaved by a ridiculously bad industry - which has enslaved them by designing a cigarette that is highly addictive, knowing that it highly lethal. And, it is," Creagan, an emergency room doctor, told The Hawaii Tribune-Herald.

"This is more lethal, more dangerous than any prescription drug, and it is more addicting. In my view, you are taking people who are enslaved from a horrific addiction and freeing people from horrific enslavement. We, as legislators, have a duty to do things to save people's lives. If we don't ban cigarettes, we are killing people."

Creagan's bill does not include e-cigarettes, cigars or chewing tobacco.

The proposition is expected to be presented to the House Health Committee this week.

tca/dpa