NJ Lawmakers, Advocates Push to Spend More to Curb Smoking

Momentum is growing to expand New Jersey’s investment in smoking prevention programs, a move supporters said would bring down tobacco use, improve public health, and reduce mortality while helping to control healthcare spending.

The state Senate is scheduled to cast a final vote Monday on a bipartisan-backed proposal to devote one percent of the tax revenue from all tobacco products sales to support evidenced-based programs to prevent kids from starting, to reduce smoking rates in general, and to lessen the impacts of second-hand smoke. Estimates suggest this would provide between $6 million and $7 million for this work in the coming year.

The proposal, which has been debated in some form since 2015, received strong support from a group of anti-smoking advocates who released a report Friday that said this level of investment would help prevent more than 3,200 children from becoming smokers and would keep one-third of these youngsters from dying prematurely. It would also save the state nearly $68 million in future healthcare costs, they said.

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