The Sayreville Borough Council gave the go-ahead on Monday night to raise the minimum age to purchase tobacco products within borough limits, upping the purchase age to 21.
The ordinance was introduced by Councilman David McGill as a way to limit access to tobacco products, and like similar ordinances in other cities, puts the onus on the retailer to verify the age with no repercussions for an underage person trying to buy a tobacco product. Under borough code, retailers could be fined up to $1,000 for selling tobacco products to a person under 21.
The change goes into effect immediately.
Following the vote, Sal Risalvato, Executive Director of the New Jersey Gasoline, Convenience, Automotive Association (NJGCA), released a statement that called the move a removal of the freedom of choice from legal adults. He called it largely a “feel-good” ordinance that won’t stop anyone from smoking should they want to, since neighboring towns currently have minimum tobacco purchasing ages of 18-years-old.
Sayreville has a population estimated at 43,761 residents as of 2012. It is located about 25 miles southwest of Newark.