Assembly Appropriations Committee votes 7-3, passing onto General Assembly and then Governor Christie’s desk.
As many state legislative sessions are drawing to a close, New Jersey has reawakened state-level momentum toward increasing the Minimum Legal Sales Age to 21. New Jersey has attempted to increase the sales age of all tobacco products before. Last year, the same measure passed the assembly and sat on the Governor’s desk, leaving the sales age at 19.
This year, we are hoping that the assembly will again vote to protect kids in the State of New Jersey. Additionally, Governor Christie will need to recognize the aspiration of his state and constituents to protect their youth from smoking. Improved health outcomes and lower spending on morbidity and mortality associated with tobacco use will offset most tobacco tax revenue loss.
To quote the champion of tobacco 21 in Washington State, Attorney General Bob Ferguson, “Are we really balancing our budget on the backs of teenage smokers?”
If Governor Christie signs NJ A2320, New Jersey will become the third state in the nation with a tobacco 21 law. Oregon and Washington still have viable tracks for success this session. Keep your eyes out for more T21 news!