New Jersey Wants to Raise Its Smoking Age to 21, Too

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"This has now truly become a regional, if not national, effort."

Thus spoke City Council Speaker Christine Quinn at a press conference yesterday. Former-governor-turned-state-senator Richard Codey and New Jersey Assemblyman Ruben Ramos came to City Hall to join her in previewing their own version of a bill announced in New York City less than a month ago: a measure to boost the age at which you can buy cigarettes to 21. Quinn is a forerunner of the bill that has placed her directly in front of an issue Bloomberg has championed--a position that could injure her campaign more than help it.

"Less than a month after our initial announcement, our great neighboring state of New Jersey is planning to introduce legislation to do exactly the same thing: raise the age to purchase tobacco to 21," Quinn said. The provision has also been introduced in Albany to apply on a statewide level.

In the council, the status of the smoking bill here is still uncertain; of course, Bloomberg has shown support, citing its success in Britain and a stagnant teenage smoking rate as justifications after once opposing the bill as unnecessary. But maybe a little oomph from the Garden State could help. And luckily, our neighbors to the west don't have a mayoral race to worry about.

[jsurico15@gmail.com/@JohnSurico]

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