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Bill Would Dedicate State Funds For NJ Anti-Smoking Programs

Senator Brian Stack

A measure awaiting final approval in the New Jersey Senate calls for dedicating one percent of the state's cigarette tax revenue to anti-smoking initiatives.

Senator Brian Stack is the bill's primary sponsor. He says it would provide about $7 million for anti-smoking programs.

"When you look at the total amount of money that's spent in this state, I think this would be small and I think it would be something that definitely helps people. Whatever you can spend on prevention definitely helps down the road with treatment."

Brian Shott with the American Cancer Society says the legislation would help reverse some of the negative trends stemming from tobacco use.

"An investment of $7 million in tobacco control is estimated to result in 11-hundred fewer kids eventually dying prematurely from smoking and a nearly $68 million decrease in future health care expenditures in our state."

Karen Blumenfeld is executive director of Global Advisors on Smokefree Policy. She says the education programs that would be funded by the legislation can help people quit smoking or not start.

“We have seen a decline in cigarette smoking but e-cigarette use has increased dramatically and the federal government recently did a study that showed a triple increase in young people, being teenagers, initiating e-cigarette use. So, it’s quite disconcerting.”