January 19, 2016

Christie opts not to raise New Jersey's smoking age to 21

Governor pocket vetoes bill

Chris Christie chose not to sign a bill into law that would have raised the legal smoking age in New Jersey to 21 Tuesday.

The governor cleaned house on a number of pieces of pending legislation, and he pocket vetoed S-602/A-3254, which would have raised the age necessary to buy tobacco products and electronic smoking devices from 19 to 21.

The Asbury Park Press spoke to an anti-smoking advocate who lamented Christie's decision, especially considering his past rhetoric on the perils of addiction.

“Gov. Christie has spoken eloquently about addiction and his mother’s battle with lung cancer following decades of cigarette smoking that started in her teens. Unfortunately, when given the opportunity to prevent future such tragedies, he failed to do so,” said Matthew Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.

The Press reports that state Sen. Richard Codey, a Democrat and former governor of the state, will pursue the bill again in the next legislative session.

The law would have made New Jersey the second state, along with Hawaii, to raise the smoking age to 21.