You now have to be 21 to buy cigarettes in New Jersey, FYI
You’ve heard it since elementary school. Smoking kills. But believe it or not, people are still buying cigarettes. Not only does it cause countless health issues, but smoking is still the leading cause of preventable death WORLDWIDE. There have been endless ad campaigns to end smoking, but even videos of people with laryngectomys addressing viewers hasn’t helped. Smoking kills nearly 6 million people per year and the CDC (The Center for Disease Control and Prevention) estimates that by 2030, that number will rise to 8 million.
Due to their popularity and to widespread tobacco addiction, cigarettes aren’t illegal. Some states however are purposely making it harder for minors to buy them- hopefully eliminating the chance of creating future smokers,
Joining California and Hawaii, New Jersey has raised the minimum age for purchasing tobacco to 21-years-old.
N.J. Governor Chris Christie announced the bill on Friday stating, “No one should lose their life due to any addictive substance.” This is a cause that is close to Gov Christie’s heart as he lost his mother due to the effects of smoking. He aims to,
"[Give] young people more time to develop a maturity and better understanding of how dangerous smoking can be and that it is better to not start smoking in the first place."
The law is set to take effect Nov 1.
It includes the sale of all tobacco, electronic tobacco and smoking products. This is not the first time New Jersey has raised the minimum age for the sale of tobacco. In 2005, the state bumped the age up from 18 to 19.
Unfortunately, this age jump is not appreciated by everyone. Largely opposing the bill are deli and convenience store owners who claim that it will drop their sales in other items such as to-go sandwiches and beverages (although why would a hungry person by an $8.37 pack of cigarettes and not a 99 cent bag of Cheetos? Plus if you’ve given up smoking don’t you eat MORE?). The New Jersey Office of Legislative Services is also saying that the tax revenue could drop by $4.5 million in its first year.
However, the bill is widely supported by health advocates because, duh, smoking is bad for you. Also vendors who break this law and sell to anyone under 21 will face a fine of $1,000. That’s a lot of sandwich money.
Hopefully New Jersey and its populace will have an easy adjustment — and set a precedent for the rest of the United States.