This year’s State of Tobacco Control report from the American Lung Association reveals that New Jersey had mixed progress on its efforts to reduce and prevent tobacco use. In the report the American Lung Association calls on New Jersey officials to pass a significant increase in the tax on cigarettes in order to save lives.
The Lung Association applauds New Jersey for acting to protect youth from tobacco by passing Tobacco 21, earning an A grade.
The 17th annual State of Tobacco Control report grades states and the federal government on policies proven to prevent and reduce tobacco use, and finds that while New Jersey has taken significant steps to reduce tobacco use, including passing legislation to increase the tobacco product sales age to 21, elected officials must do more to save lives.
The issue is more urgent than ever, the report notes, with youth e-cigarette use reaching epidemic levels due to a 78 percent increase in high school e-cigarette use from 2017 to 2018, according to results from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 2018 National Youth Tobacco Survey.
“In New Jersey, our adult smoking rates remain at 13.7 percent and the high school smoking rate is 4.7 percent. Tobacco use is a serious addiction and we need to invest in the proven measures to prevent and reduce tobacco use outlined in ‘State of Tobacco Control’,” said American Lung Association’s Michael Seilback, national assistant vice president, State Public Policy, in a statement.
The American Lung Association gave New Jersey the following grades on its 2019 State of Tobacco Control report card: Funding for State Tobacco Prevention Programs – Grade F; Strength of smoke free Workplace Laws – Grade A; Level of State Tobacco Taxes – Grade D; Coverage and Access to Services to Quit Tobacco – Grade B; and Minimum Age of Sale for Tobacco Products to 21 – Grade A.
The report concludes that if New Jersey would increase funding for tobacco control programs, the state would have a powerful opportunity to help further reduce and prevent tobacco use, including supporting communities that still use tobacco at higher rates and who have been targeted by the tobacco industry.d