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NJ Senate Approves Bill to Raise Smoking Age

Only those above the age of 21 would be able to buy tobacco products and e-cigarettes in New Jersey.

Patch file photo.
Patch file photo.

20-year-olds in New Jersey might soon not be able to buy tobacco products and electronic cigarettes. The State Senate passed a bill to raise the legal age for purchasing tobacco to 21 on Monday. 

According to the Center for Disease Control, 9 percent of New Jersey teens ages 12 to 17 have used cigarettes and more than 15 percent of those between the ages of 18 and 24 are smokers. 

At present the minimum age is 19, higher than 45 other states. New Jersey would be the only state to raise the minimum age to 21. 

Legislators hope that this will reduce tobacco addiction and improve overall health in New Jersey. 

"By raising the minimum smoking age, we will prevent children from buying tobacco products and becoming regular smokers," State senator Richard Codey told the Star Ledger. "In doing so we will save lives."

The American Cancer Society found that lung cancer is "the single largest cancer killer" in New Jersey, causing over 4,100 deaths in 2012.

In the same study, they expressed their support for the New Jersey Tobacco Control Program. 

Codey teamed up with Senator Joseph Vitale to sponsor the bill. 

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