Tobacco rules and regulations seem to be constantly changing. The latest state making moves towards change is New Jersey. Following in the footsteps of New York City, New Jersey is leading an effort in the state’s legislature to raise the minimum age to purchase tobacco to 21.
Richard Codey (D – Essex County) is leading the effort that would establish penalties for retailers who sell tobacco products to individuals under the age of 21. However it would not create a penalty for a person under 21 who attempts to buy tobacco. While Codey was governor of New Jersey in 2006 he raised the minimum age to purchase tobacco products to 19. Current fines for retailers selling tobacco products to individuals under 19 range from $250 to $1,000.
If the bill passes it would make New Jersey one of the first states to raise the age to 21 to purchase tobacco. Texas has a bill in the State Senate that seeks to do the same thing. New Jersey, Alaska, Alabama and Utah have all raised their minimum age for tobacco purchase to 19, some counties in New York have the minimum age 19 as well.
Chicago is also considering raising their minimum age to purchase tobacco to 21 and has expressed full support for New York City’s age increase.