New Report Reveals New Jersey Must Make Casinos Smokefree and End the Sale of All Flavored Tobacco Products to Save Lives

American Lung Association “State of Tobacco Control” report releases New Jersey grades for tobacco control policies, outlines steps to reduce burden of tobacco

A new report from the American Lung Association urges New Jersey lawmakers to focus on expanding the smokefree law to include all casinos, prohibit the sale of flavored tobacco products and increase cigarette and tobacco product taxes by a significant amount to reduce the burden of tobacco use.

The 2024 “State of Tobacco Control” report evaluates state and federal policies on actions taken to eliminate tobacco use and recommends proven-effective tobacco control laws and policies to save lives. New Jersey received two F grades, one B, one C and a D grade for policies to improve statewide efforts to prevent and reduce tobacco use.

“Tobacco use is the leading cause of death in New Jersey and across the country, and takes the lives of 11,780 state residents each year. The tobacco industry will do anything to protect their profits at the expense of New Jersey lives, so we must push forward in our efforts to prevent and reduce tobacco use,” said Michael Seilback, National AVP, State Public Policy at the American Lung Association in New Jersey. “This year, state policymakers must expand the smokefree law by making all casinos smokefree; by removing flavored tobacco products off the shelves and increasing cigarette and tobacco product taxes.”

Priority Calls to Action:

Expand the smokefree law. The U.S. Surgeon General has concluded there is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke. Expanding the state’s smokefree law by making casinos smokefree would protect workers and patrons across the state from deadly secondhand smoke.

End the sale of all flavored tobacco products, including menthol cigarettes. We know that kids are attracted to flavored e-cigarettes and that menthol cigarettes continue to be the major cause of tobacco-related death and disease in Black communities, with over 80% of Black individuals who smoke using them. “Ending the sale of all flavored tobacco products, including menthol cigarettes, will not only help end youth vaping, but will address health disparities,” said Seilback.

Increase the tax on tobacco products. One of the most effective ways to reduce tobacco use, not only among low-income individuals but also for youth, is to significantly increase the tax on all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes. Multiple studies have shown that every 10% increase in the price of cigarettes reduces consumption by about 4% among adults and about 7% among youth. New Jersey should increase its tax on cigarettes by at least $1.00 per pack.

Increase funding for tobacco prevention and quit smoking programs. Despite receiving $792.8 million from tobacco settlement payments and tobacco taxes, New Jersey only funds tobacco control efforts at 9.8% of the level recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The Lung Association urges Governor Phil Murphy and the legislature to significantly increase funding for this critical program.

New Jersey’s Grades

The “State of Tobacco Control” report grades states and the District of Columbia in five areas that have been proven to prevent and reduce tobacco use and save lives. In the 2024 report, New Jersey received the following grades:

  1. Funding for State Tobacco Prevention Programs – Grade F
  2. Strength of Smokefree Workplace Laws – Grade B
  3. Level of State Tobacco Taxes – Grade F
  4. Coverage and Access to Services to Quit Tobacco – Grade C
  5. Ending the Sale of All Flavored Tobacco Products – Grade D

Federal Grades Overview

This year’s report focuses on recent federal actions, including President Biden’s failure to finalize rules to end the sale of menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars, as well as FDA’s overdue review of all applications for e-cigarette products, including flavors that are popular among youth. Because of the delay on the federal rules to end the sale of menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars, it is even more important for states to enact laws to end the sale of all flavored tobacco products.

The 2024 “State of Tobacco Control” report grades the federal government in five areas:

  • Federal Government Regulation of Tobacco Products – Grade C
  • Federal Coverage of Quit Smoking Treatments – Grade D
  • Level of Federal Tobacco Taxes – Grade F
  • Federal Mass Media Campaigns to Prevent and Reduce Tobacco Use – Grade: A
  • Federal Minimum Age of Sale for Tobacco Products to 21 – Incomplete*

*State Funding for Tobacco Prevention Programs grades in “State of Tobacco Control” reflect actions taken by elected officials and do not reflect on the hard work of state tobacco control programs or advocates.

The Lung Association calls on the White House to urgently finalize rules to end the sales of menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars in the U.S. to save lives now. Send an email to President Biden at Lung.org/Stop-Menthol to insist these rules be finalized urgently. To learn more about this year’s “State of Tobacco Control” grades and take action, visit Lung.org/sotc.

Get involved and help the mission of the American Lung Association. The Fight For Air Climb in Newark is coming up on April 14, 2024. Learn more at FightForAirClimb.org/newjersey.

For more information, contact:

Valerie Gleason
717-971-1123
[email protected]

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