The legislative session will be ending soon, but NJ may see increase in anti-tobacco funding before its over!
With the 2017 election behind us, there are just a few weeks left in the current legislative session. Although time is running short, there are still several important priorities on the table in New Jersey, one of which is funding for tobacco prevention.
Efforts to reduce tobacco use and resources to help smokers quit have been woefully underfunded in New Jersey for years. The CDC recommends that the state spend $103.3 million each year on programs to prevent smoking. This year, the figure that NJ dedicates to this purpose rose from $0 to just $500,000. The increase was a step in the right direction, but we can do better.
In July, Governor Christie issued a "conditional veto" on legislation that would have an dedicated an estimated $6.7 million for anti-tobacco efforts, but it wasn't all bad news. The only change he requested is that the funding be issued in July 2018 instead of July 2017. The Assembly agreed to this change and the Senate is expected to do the same the next time they meet. If the Senate approves, NJ will increase resources for tobacco prevention and anti-tobacco programs to a level not seen in recent years.
Throughout the next few months, "You're the Cure" advocates like you throughout New Jersey will be called upon to make your voices heard on this important issue. I hope that you will join us in this effort to make NJ healthier this holiday season.