A bill that would raise the minimum age to purchase tobacco products in New Jersey continues to move through the state senate, having been approved by the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee today by a vote of 6-2 with one abstention.
After being introduced in January, Senate Bill 602 now heads to the full Senate for discussion and a possible vote. Should it eventually pass, it would raise the minimum age to purchase both tobacco products and e-cigarettes from 19 to 21, and put the onus for age verification on the sellers of those products. It does not criminalize the possession or use of tobacco products by those under the proposed age illegal.
The bill was co-sponsored by Sens. Richard Codey (D-Essex) and Joseph Vitale (D-Middlesex), who have previously said that they didn’t think the state’s previous age increase to 19 years of age in 2006 did enough to curtail youth smoking.