The American Lung Association gave New Jersey an “F” for its efforts in tobacco prevention control and spending, in its ”State of Tobacco Control” report.
The association’s report tracks progress on key tobacco control policies at the state and federal levels, and assigns grades based on tobacco control laws and regulations in effect as of January 2, 2013. The report states that New Jersey provided “no state funding for tobacco prevention and cessation programs despite smoking costing the state $5.6 billion in economic costs each year.” And that, “Elected officials are spending less than two cents on preventing kids from starting to smoke and helping smokers quit for every one dollar they take in from tobacco taxes and tobacco settlement payments.”
In the category of “Cessation,” NJ passes, but not by much, with a “D” for for expanding the tobacco cessation medications available to state employees.
But the Garden State should be proud of its “Smokefree air,” scoring an “A” from the ALA and scoring a “B” for its tax rate of $2.70 per pack of 20.
This year, the American Lung Association in NJ will advocate for incremental increases in spending on tobacco prevention and cessation to the CDC-recommended level, to increase the cigarette tax by $1.00 per pack and to raise the tax on tobacco products other than cigarettes to equal the cigarette tax.
Of you want to help get NJ’s grades up, the American Lung Association asks that you take action by signing this letter to the Governor, State senators, and State representatives.