The New Jersey Legislature will be heading back to Trenton this month for the final weeks of the current legislative session. This period is often referred to as the "lame duck session," and many bills that have been making their way through the legislative process will be heard in committee and be voted on in both houses. Those that do not receive legislative approval before the session ends in January will need to be reintroduced.
One of the bills that the American Heart Association supports would raise the age for purchasing tobacco from 19 to 21. The measure passed in the Senate in June 2014, but it is awaiting consideration in the Assembly Health and Senior Services Committee. There are currently 8 bipartisan sponsors that are supporting the bill.
Hawaii was the first state to pass such a law earlier this year. The legislation is modeled on a law that passed in Needham, MA. After it went into effect, the youth smoking rate plummeted by 50%. In addition, 8 towns in New Jersey have enacted a similar policy locally.
I hope that you will join our efforts in the coming weeks to advocate for this potentially life-saving legislation.