TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — New Jersey could become the second state to raise the smoking age to 21, as part of a movement that comes amid a sharp increase in electronic cigarette use among young people.

Lawmakers have approved a bill to raise the smoking age from 19 to 21 in New Jersey.

The bill would fine retailers up to $1,000 if they sell to anyone 20 years old or younger, but would not punish underage smokers.

The Assembly voted Monday to approve the measure, which has already been approved in the Senate and now heads to Republican Gov. Chris Christie’s desk. He has not said whether he will sign it.

New York City, Suffolk County and 14 towns across New Jersey have already raised the legal purchase age of cigarettes and tobacco products to 21.  New York City adopted the measure in 2013.

Westchester County placed a ban on indoor use of electronic cigarettes in June of 2015.

Hawaii became the first state to raise the smoking age to 21 on Jan. 1, and similar measures have been introduced in eight other states. New Jersey would be the second state behind Hawaii to raise the smoking age to 21.

On Monday, a committee in Connecticut led by Rep. Noreen Kokordua said they are considering a state ban on smoking in cars while children are present. The legal smoking age in Connecticut is 18.

A recent study found that raising the smoking age would reduce rates among teens by 12 percent, preventing more than 200,000 premature deaths.

(TM and © Copyright 2016 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


Leave a Reply