The push in New Jersey to raise the minimum age to purchase tobacco products took a significant step forward on Thursday as the Assembly Appropriations Committee approved a bill seeking the increase, sending it to the floor for a full vote.
Assembly Bill 2320 was approved by a 7-2 vote with two members not voting, the first action the bill has received since Feb. 2016 when it was approved by the Assembly Health and Senior Services Committee by a 10-3 vote.
The bill would make it illegal for someone under 21 to purchase tobacco products, but it wouldn’t make possession or use of tobacco products by a person under 21 a crime. Retailers would face fines between $250 and $1,000 should they sell to a minor.
The state Senate has already approved the bill, voting on it May 2016 by a 23-14 vote.
Should it pass the Assembly, it will once again return to the desk of Gov. Chris Christie, who pocket vetoed a similar proposal in Jan. 2015.