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Tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable death and disease in the United States and in New Jersey. To address this enormous toll, the American Lung Association calls for the following actions to be taken by New Jersey's elected officials:

  1. Pass a significant increase in the tax on cigarettes;
  2. Fund tobacco prevention and cessation programs at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)-recommended level; and
  3. Continue expanding tobacco cessation coverage for individuals on Medicaid.
2018 saw significant changes in New Jersey as Phil Murphy began his first year as governor. In the tobacco control arena, the American Lung Association in New Jersey saw solid progress on tobacco control program funding, smokefree air and helping smokers under the state Medicaid program quit. The most significant achievement was increasing tobacco control program funding by $6.7 million with the new funding being allocated from tobacco tax revenues. This was a major accomplishment which was implemented as part of the fiscal year 2019 state budget, following passage of legislation allocating one percent of tobacco tax revenues to tobacco control programs in 2017. This is the largest amount of funding going to New Jersey's tobacco control program since 2009, but it still remains far short of the level recommended by the CDC. A new tax on e-cigarettes was passed in 2018 that set the tax at ten cents per fluid milliliter of liquid nicotine.

The Murphy Administration also showed a commitment to helping smokers quit and expanding New Jersey's smokefree laws. By expanding counseling coverage for Medicaid recipients and removing prior authorization, New Jersey's fee-for-service program now provides coverage of all seven Food and Drug Administration-approved tobacco cessation medications and all three forms of counseling that help smokers quit. Governor Murphy also signed legislation that passed near unanimously to expand smokefree outdoor spaces. Specifically, the law will make all beaches, parks and boardwalks smokefree, except for designated outdoor areas of municipal or county beaches if allowed by local ordinance or resolution.

The American Lung Association in New Jersey will continue to work with the Murphy Administration and the legislature to push forward on the ongoing fight against tobacco. The Lung Association will be pushing for a significant increase in the cigarette tax, continue to move forward with increasing tobacco control funding, and continuing to remove remaining barriers which would make it easier for smokers to quit

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