Will Gov. Christie Veto Raising Smoking Age to 21?
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has until Jan. 19 to decide whether to sign a bill that would prohibit retail establishments from selling traditional cigarettes and e-cigarettes to anyone 20 years old or younger, according to the NY Daily News. In 2006, New Jersey raised the legal smoking age from 18 to 19.
The bill could cost the state $18.8 million per year in tax revenues, according to an estimate from the Office of Legislative Services. They estimate that people ages 19 and 20 buy about 8.2 million packs of cigarettes every year in New Jersey.
In 2014, Gov. Christie vetoed a law that would have prohibited smoking in parks and public beaches. He said localities should be able to decide.
The law wouldn’t punish the underage smokers, but would fine retailers up to $1,000 if they sold to underage individuals.
Hawaii passed the first law raising the smoking age to 21; it went into effect on Jan. 1, 2016. Eight states and D.C. have considered similar laws.