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Your Views for October 13

Raise smoking age

I am writing to encourage strong support for the proposed Hawaii County policy to raise the age of sale of tobacco products to 21.

I have seen firsthand the damage that tobacco causes on the Big Island in the form of illness, reduced quality of life, shortened lifespan and the ripple effect these have on family, friends and community.

More than 95 percent of smokers start before the age of 21. Until the age of 18, most young tobacco users are identified as experimenters. They have limited access to, and use, less tobacco than those able to freely purchase for themselves. And, 90 percent of cigarettes purchased for youth under the age of 18 are purchased by 18-20 year olds. At age 18, experimenters risk becoming addicted as their ability to purchase and use tobacco becomes unlimited.

By delaying the age — from 18 to 21 — at which young adults are able to purchase tobacco products, we can reduce tobacco availability and the likelihood that experimentation will turn into addiction.

A poll conducted with Big Island residents finds that the majority of residents favor raising the age of tobacco sales to 21 years.

Tobacco is the leading cause of preventable deaths in the U.S.

Preventing young people from becoming addicted to tobacco products is paramount to improving public and personal health. For the sake and health of our residents, please join together in support of this effort to reduce the harmful, long-term effects of tobacco in our Big Island community.

Forrest Batz

Coalition for a Tobacco-Free Hawaii — East Hawaii Community Coalition


Breathe easier

I am writing in strong support of the proposed policy to raise the age of the sale of tobacco products to 21.

My name is Ku‘ehu Mauga, and I was born and raised in Hilo here on Hawaii Island.

As someone who has suffered from the effects of having asthma, I was educated about the harmful effects of smoking from a very young age.

On a personal level, it was through being educated about the effects of smoking that I became strong-minded to be an anti-smoking advocate. After experiencing many deaths in my family due to lung cancer, I made sure that I would never make that choice in my life. My grandparents were both smokers, and sadly passed away having suffered the effects.

I live my life to the fullest every day by making positive choices and by living a healthy lifestyle. There are far better things that make life worth living than the negativity of smoking and the sale of tobacco products. Too many people use smoking as an excuse for stress.

We can all agree that everyone makes their own choices in life, but it is important to promote the fact that smoking is not a good thing. Most people choose to take the risks that come with smoking, only because the effects become a priority in the long term, but by then it is too late.

Tobacco use kills nearly 400,000 Americans every year, 95 percent of whom start smoking regularly before the age of 21. Tobacco companies continue to target young adults like myself, because they know it is a critical time period for solidifying addiction to tobacco.

As a young adult, I strive to inspire anyone and everyone to make better decisions, especially when it comes to the education of tobacco effects. If the term “cancer” isn’t enough to stop someone from smoking, I don’t know what is, which is why I feel it is important to educate the public, because it is the key for change.

As a Native Hawaiian, it is with a heavy heart to see the many deaths of our Hawaiian people due to the effects of smoking. Smoking was never a Hawaiian tradition, and I refuse to let it become one in Hawaii today.

With the introduction of e-cigarettes, I continue to stand against it, because no matter the amount of nicotine you inhale, it will become an addiction.

Smoking had no part in the successes of my life, and it never will. We can never change people and the decisions they make, but raising the smoking age to 21 is a start.

Nothing else matters when you can’t breathe. Mai puhi paka! No smoking!


Fair game?

The egotistical politicians on Capitol Hill are mostly responsible for the government shutdown that resulted in the furloughs of some 800,000 federal workers.

With some exceptions, most of the furloughed workers shall not be seeing a paycheck for as long as the shutdown continues.

Don’t you believe it to be only fair that the people that caused the shutdown should also be deprived of their salaries which they can much easily do without than the people that were depived of their pay as the results of the whimsical politician’s actions?

T. Ono



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