- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 22, 2015

PRINCETON, N.J. (AP) - Princeton became the seventh New Jersey town to ban tobacco sales to customers under 21 after the town’s health board unanimously adopted the ordinance on Tuesday.

Princeton joined Bogota, Englewood, Garfield, Highland Park, Sayreville and Teaneck as towns that require customers to be older than the state minimum age of 19 to purchase tobacco products, according to Global Advisors on Smokefree Policy.

Board member George DiFerdinando told The Times of Trenton (https://bit.ly/1G69Ty7 ) that increasing the purchase age has minimal impact on those who are already smoking, but it puts the legal purchase outside the social circle of those who just getting started.

The Princeton Department of Health will be in charge of enforcing the law, which goes into effect in three weeks. Retailers who violate it will face a penalty of $250 for the first offense, $500 for the second and $1,000 for subsequent violations.

Eric Blomgren, associate director of government affairs for the New Jersey Gasoline Convenience Store Automotive Association, told the newspaper that the law will hurt small businesses.

“People under 21 are legally allowed to vote, to marry, to serve in the military, but this says they’re not responsible enough to buy a cigar,” Blomgren said.

A report released earlier this month by the Institute of Medicine projected 223,000 fewer premature deaths among those born between 2000 and 2019 if the age of tobacco sales was raised to 21.

DiFerdinando said the ultimate goal of the tobacco ordinance is to encourage other nearby towns to follow suit, making it more difficult for customers under 21 to buy tobacco. He said the ordinance will save lives.


Information from: The (Trenton, N.J.) Times, https://www.nj.com/times

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