New Jersey

Recent updates! – Tobacco 21 Progress


2/22/2017 – A2320 passed out of Health and Senior Services Committee (10-3), referred to Assembly Appropriations Committee
2/22/2017 – Bloomingdale passes Tobacco 21 ordinance, becoming 22nd city in state to do so (effective 9/1/2017)
2/16/2017 – Trenton passes Tobacco 21 ordinance, becoming 21st city in state to do so
2/4/2017 – Assembly Bill 2320 introduced by Representative Valeri Huttle along with 6 other co-sponsors. The bill would raise the minimum legal sales age for all tobacco products to 21 statewide; referred to Assembly Health and Senior Services Committee
10/14/2016 – Haledon passes Tobacco 21 ordinance, becoming 20st city in state to do so
6/20/2016 – Fair Lawn passes Tobacco 21 ordinance, becoming 19th city in state to do so
6/8/2016 – Maplewood passes Tobacco 21 ordinance, becoming 18th city in state to do so
5/11/2016 – Hanover passes Tobacco 21 ordinance, becoming 17th city in state to do so
5/26/2016 – Senate Bill 359 passes Senate 23-14
4/19/2016 – West Orange passes Tobacco 21 ordinance, becoming 16th city in state to do so
3/7/2016 – Senate Bill 359 passes Budget and Appropriations committee
2/4/2016 – Senate Bill 359 passes Health committee, moves on to Budget and Appropriations committee
2/4/2016 – Assembly members Huttle and Conoway reintroduce Tobacco 21 in Assembly as Assembly Bill 2320
1/20/2016 – Senators Codey, Vitale, and Turner reintroduce Tobacco 21 in Senate as Senate Bill 359
1/19/2016 – Governor Christie pocket vetoes bill, disappointing his family, friends, supporters, and constituents
1/11/2016 – New Jersey Assembly passes Tobacco 21 by 49-22 margin, moves to Governor’s desk
12/10/2015 – New Jersey Assembly Bill A3254 passes Health and Human Services Committee by 11-1 margin, moves on to Assembly floor
12/8/2015 – Belleville becomes 15th city in New Jersey to adopt Tobacco 21
11/2/2015 – Wyckoff becomes 14th city in New Jersey to adopt Tobacco 21
10/28/2015 – Paterson becomes 13th city in New Jersey to adopt Tobacco 21
8/13/2015 – Westwood becomes 12th city in New Jersey to adopt Tobacco 21
8/12/2015 – Tenafly becomes 11th city in New Jersey to adopt Tobacco 21
7/21/2015 – Bergenfield becomes 10th city in New Jersey to adopt Tobacco 21
7/13/2015 – Rutherford becomes 9th city in New Jersey to adopt Tobacco 21
5/19/2015 – East Rutherford becomes 8th city in New Jersey to adopt Tobacco 21
4/21/2015 – Princeton becomes 7th city in New Jersey to adopt Tobacco 21
4/14/2015 – Garfield and Highland Park become 5th and 6th cities in New Jersey to adopt Tobacco 21
2/26/2015 – Bogota becomes 4th city in New Jersey to adopt Tobacco 21
7/11/2014 – New Jersey Senate Bill 602 Received in the Assembly, Referred to Assembly Health and Senior Services Committee
6/30/2014 – New Jersey Senate Bill 602 Passed by the Senate (22-10)

New Jersey nearly became the second state to pass Tobacco 21, as a bill that would have raised the sales age of tobacco to 21 passed the Senate by a wide margin (22-10), the Assembly Health and Human Services Committee by a wide margin (11-1), and the Assembly by a wide margin (49-22). Unfortunately, Presidential hopeful, Governor Chris Christie, ignored the overwhelming evidence and popular support for Tobacco 21 and pocket vetoed the bill, disappointing the majority of his constituents and fellow politicians. Senators Richard Codey (D-Essex) and Joseph Vitale (D-Middlesex) proposed the bill, and deserve the highest respect and support. The bills have also brought the Tobacco 21 momentum to the state, resulting in 19 municipalities passing a Tobacco 21 ordinance in the past 2 years.

Assembly Bill 2320: The Assembly bill to raise the New Jersey tobacco age to 21.

The toll of tobacco in New Jersey amounts to $4.06 billion in annual health costs directly caused by smoking, and another $3.15 billion in lost productivity. The state has a below national average rate of high school smoking, and a below average rate of adult smoking. The current rates would result in an estimated 143,000 children now under the age of 18 dying early due to smoking, with 3,900 children becoming daily smokers each year. Unfortunately, the state spends only 1.3% of the CDC recommended amount on tobacco prevention, with all funds coming from federal government again in 2017.

There is no preemption language present in state law keeping localities from raising the Minimum Legal Sales Age (MLSA) to 21. Local governments are free to enact ordinances to better protect their kids from addiction. It has been our experience that the most powerful incentive for the state legislature to act is the initiative of local citizens and governmental leaders. Statewide, California and Hawaii’s laws both began at the local level where powerful tobacco industry lobbyists have little sway. We encourage you to talk to your local city council person, county council member or board of health leader. Local champions have largely driven this movement in non-preempted states. Your voice is more influential than you think. Constituents are an impetus for change at the community and statewide levels. Garner interest around Tobacco 21 at the local and state level by communicating with your local legislators through phone calls, emails, and testimony at local government meetings.

For more information, you may contact:

Karen Blumenfeld
Executive Director
Global Advisors on Smokefree Policy (GASP)
KBlumenfeld@Njgasp.Org

Corinne Orlando
Director, Government Relations
American Heart Association
Corinne.Orlando@heart.org

April Seliga
Eastern Region Director
Tobacco 21
April.Seliga@Tobacco21.org

Senator Codey’s Office
New Jersey Senator
Democrat – Essex
StnCodey@Njleg.Org

Amy Barkley
Director, Tobacco States and Mid-Atlantic
Tobacco Free Kids
ABarkley@Tobaccofreekids.Org

Visit our sources:

Tobacco Free Kids New Jersey: “The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids is a leading force in the fight to reduce tobacco use and its deadly toll in the United States and around the world. Our vision: A future free of the death and disease caused by tobacco.”

American Lung Association State Report Card: “The ALA ‘State of Tobacco Control’ report tracks progress on key tobacco control policies at the state and federal levels, and assigns grades based on tobacco control laws and regulations in effect as of January 2, 2014.”

SLATI State Information New Jersey: “SLATI (State Legislated Actions on Tobacco Issues) is an extensively researched and invaluable source of information on tobacco control laws and policy, and is the only up-to-date and comprehensive summary of state tobacco control laws.”


The Preventing Tobacco Addiction Foundation and the Campaign For Tobacco Free Kids support these four principles for Tobacco 21 ordinances:

1) Include all tobacco and nicotine products, specifically e-cigarettes. The only exceptions would be FDA recognized nicotine replacement products (gum, patch, etc.) intended for cessation.
2) Include significant enforcement provisions against illegal sales as research shows that consistent enforcement is of critical importance.
3) Not include any pre-emption against local authority in more stringent regulation of tobacco or other nicotine product sales, secondhand smoke, or e-cigarette vapor.
4) Ideally not include possession, usage, or purchase (PUP) penalties that result in criminal records, and instead place the onus on the purveyors of these addictive products

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