first published on December 30, 2015 by Josh
Marines aboard Marine Corps Base Hawaii will no longer be allowed use any tobacco products, until they reach the age of 21.
Marine Corps Deputy Commandant for Manpower and Reserve Affairs Lt. Gen. Mark Brilakis has released a new MARADMIN (649/15) that specifically states Marines, and personnel aboard Marine Corps installations, will comply with a new Hawaii state law, while in the state of Hawaii.
This new state law (SB1030) raises the minimum age requirement for the purchase, and consumption of tobacco products, as well as the purchase and use of E-Cigs, from 18 to 21. Local officials from the state of Hawaii passed this law in June of 2015, stating that 99% of smokers start before the age of 21, and using this as their reason. It goes into effect January 1st, 2016.
A lot of people are pretty upset about this move by the Marine Corps, and with good reason. In recent surveys conducted by the Marine Corps, they have discovered that nearly 31 percent of the Marine Corps smokes, and another 21 percent use smokeless tobacco products. With a total of 30 percent of Marines being under the age of 21, you can certainly see how this could ruffle some feathers within the Marine Corps community.
As a former Hawaii Marine, and current abuser of tobacco products, I would have been pretty upset by this order myself. Here’s the kicker though, if you read the MARADMIN, you can already see some loopholes being put in place.
2. U.S. Marine Corps installations located in the state of Hawaii are subject to concurrent jurisdiction. This means Hawaii’s criminal code applies aboard all federal installations. Specifically excluded from this policy are ships’ stores that reside on U.S. Naval vessels. Accordingly, Hawaii state and local police have authority to enforce state laws aboard Marine Corps installations.
This means that Marines aboard U.S. Naval vessels, and outside of the state of Hawaii will not be affected by this law at all.
So if you’re deployed, or training out of state, hit them smoke pits boys. The HPD can’t fine you while you’re in the Med, or out conducting your combined arms exercise in California. I also can’t help but think this will just be another dog and pony show for the media, similar to the loose enforcement of underage drinking policies.
“If you don’t get caught, I don’t care.” – Every NCO ever.