Hawaii considers raising legal smoking age — to 100

Professional golfer Hideto Tanihara of Japan smokes a cigarette during a tournament in Hawaii on January 10, 2014 . (Getty Images/AFP)
Updated 05 February 2019
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Hawaii considers raising legal smoking age — to 100

  • The proposed law, introduced by local Democratic representative Richard Creagan, would effectively amount to a cigarette ban by 2024
  • Hawaii already has some of the toughest laws on cigarette sales

LOS ANGELES: Would-be cigarette smokers in the US state of Hawaii might have to wait a very long time for their first legal drag, after a lawmaker introduced a bill that would bar sales to anyone under the age of 100.
The proposed law, introduced by local Democratic representative Richard Creagan, would effectively amount to a cigarette ban by 2024.
Hawaii already has some of the toughest laws on cigarette sales but Creagan — an emergency room doctor — believes more needs to be done to ban “the deadliest artifact in human history,” according to his proposed bill.
“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,” he told the Hawaii Tribune-Herald.
Under current law, you must be 21-years-old to purchase cigarettes in Hawaii. Nationwide, the minimum age is 18 or 19.
Creagan’s proposal calls for raising the cigarette-buying age to 30 by next year, 40 in 2021, 50 in 2022 and 60 in 2023. By 2024, the minimum age would be 100.
He said the bill is structured to withstand any legal challenge.
“The state is obliged to protect the public’s health,” Creagan, who acknowledges smoking cigarettes during his medical studies, told the Hawaii Tribune-Herald.
“We don’t allow people free access to opioids, for instance, or any prescription drugs,” he added.
“This is more lethal, more dangerous than any prescription drug, and it is more addicting.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cigarette smoking is the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the United States, accounting for nearly half a million deaths every year.


Iraqi rapper gives angry youth in city of Basra music outlet

Updated 21 February 2019
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Iraqi rapper gives angry youth in city of Basra music outlet

  • Basra fell under conservative rule after Shiite clerics and militias took over the city in the vacuum caused by the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq
  • Amid the revolt, rap offered Basra’s youth an opportunity for lyrics blistering with criticism

BASRA, Iraq: A youth-led protest movement in the southern Iraqi port city of Basra, which saw riots last summer over failing services and soaring unemployment, has found an artistic outlet in the words and beats of homegrown rapper Ahmed Chayeb.
The 22-year-old rapper, also known as Mr. Guti, says his generation is fed up with the false piety of politicians and religious authorities who preach about faith and duty but have let Basra fall apart.
“We need to be critical of everything that’s not right,” Chayeb told The Associated Press in a recent interview in his home studio, where he recorded “This is Basra ,” lashing out at the powerful Shiite religious establishment.
Mr. Guti’s expertly produced music videos have drawn tens of thousands of YouTube viewers but his new-found fame has also brought danger: threats from hard-liners are common and two of the city’s protest organizers have been killed in recent attacks. Their killers remain at large.
Basra, long known around the Arabian Gulf for its drinking establishments and its maritime vibe, fell under conservative rule after Shiite clerics and militias took over the city in the vacuum caused by the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq.
Once renowned for its canals and markets, Basra’s waterways today are clogged with waste, and its drinking water is filthy. The city erupted in violent unrest last summer that led to demonstrators burning down government and party-affiliated buildings.
Amid the revolt, rap offered Basra’s youth — tired of joblessness and failed services — an opportunity for lyrics blistering with criticism.
In “This is Basra,” Chayeb raps against the backdrop of a march around the city’s burning municipal building during last summer’s protests, asking why his generation has been called on to fight a war for leaders who cannot secure water for the city.
The conflict he refers to is the four-year war against the Daesh group that the US-backed Iraqi government forces ultimately won. Many young Shiites followed a call in June 2014 by Iraq’s top Shiite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali Al-Sistani, for volunteers to fight against IS. Thousands died in that fight.
“We were martyred for this war, I fell, and the authority has forgotten my loyalty,” he raps.
“You’re not associated with Hussein,” he goes on, invoking the revered Shiite imam and grandson of the Prophet Muhammad who died in the 7th century Battle of Karbala, and whose example Iraq’s leaders have asked their youth to follow.
Chayeb, mindful of the dangers, is circumspect about where and when he performs. He says most of his concerts are arranged through private contacts; he stopped recording at a professional studio in 2016. He said he’s received death threats that have grown more intimidating in recent months.
But he won’t stop rapping.
“If we stay afraid, nothing will change,” he said.
As a teenager, Chayeb watched US and British rappers on YouTube, then got together with friends to perform his own rhymes. He also followed a string of Arab rappers and sees Klash, from the Saudi city of Jeddah, as one of his greatest influences.
“My aim is to explain what is happening to Basra because of the people who are corrupt,” he said, adding that rap is a way “to release my pain.”
Corrupt politicians and clerics should watch out, he says.
“Beware of Basra,” he raps. “We won’t be quiet until our demands are met.”