New Jersey Raises Legal
Smoking Age To 21
New Jersey has become the third state to increase the age for buying tobacco products from 19 to 21 under a law recently signed by Governor Chris Christie. This new law, which took effect on November 1, 2017, applies to both conventional tobacco products and electronic cigarettes, and calls for fines against anyone who sells, gives or offers such products to someone younger than 21. The rationale behind this legislation is that it gives younger individuals more time to develop a maturity and a better understanding of the dangers of smoking.
Under this new law, licensed merchants who sell tobacco products will need to post a legible sign, at least 6 inches by 3 inches in size with bold letters at least one-quarter inch high, stating the following:
New Jersey law states: A PERSON WHO SELLS OR OFFERS A TOBACCO PRODUCT TO A PERSON UNDER 21 YEARS OF AGE SHALL PAY A PENALTY OF UP TO $1,000 AND MAY BE SUBJECT TO A LICENSE SUSPENSION OR REVOCATION. PROOF OF AGE MAY BE REQUIRED FOR PURCHASE. -N.J. Stat. 54:40A-4.1
Signage can be downloaded from the Department of Health website at http://nj.gov/health/fhs/tobacco/. Signs must be clearly visible where tobacco products are displayed and at the cash register.
New Jersey ranks third in the nation for the prevalence of cigarette smoking among adults. Currently, 17.3% of adults aged 18 years and older in the state are cigarette smokers. Among youth aged 12 to 18 years, 14.3% smoke in New Jersey. With the introduction of this new law, state officials are hopeful these numbers can drop in the state and eventually, across the nation as more states follow New Jersey’s lead and raise the legal smoking age. In fact, a 2015 study done by the National Institute of Medicine found that raising the minimum age to 21 across the nation would result in nearly 250,000 fewer premature deaths and 45,000 fewer lung cancer deaths among people born between 2000 and 2019.
For more information on this new law and on tobacco use, please visit the Department of Health website, Tobacco-Free for a Healthy New Jersey at http://www.tobaccofreenj.com/, or the CDC website at http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/index.htm.
The Clifton Health Department, Clifton, NJ
The Clifton Health Department is a contractual health agency serving the Township of Little Falls.