Spring is here and as the weather gets warmer throughout the Garden State, our legislators are hard at work in Trenton debating and crafting the state budget. The Legislature is required by law to submit a balanced budget to the Governor by June 30. Unfortunately, the balanced budget has not included funding for anti-tobacco programs since 2010.
This year, we are closer than we have been in years to restoring some funding for this important priority. The Assembly passed a bill with widespread, bipartisan support in November to dedicate 1% of tobacco tax revenue, approximately $6.7 million, to funding anti-tobacco programs that prevent young people from smoking and helping smokers quit. The Senate Budget Committee has not yet considered the bill.
New Jersey generates over $650 million in revenue from cigarette taxes each year. In a state budget of over $33 billion, this is a miniscule investment to fight against the #1 cause of preventable death. We urge all advocates for the American Heart Association| American Stroke Association to keep advocating for this funding to be included in the state budget this year.