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December 18, 2017

New Jersey isn’t doing much to help prevent kids from starting smoking or assisting smokers of all ages to quit. That’s the conclusion of a report that’s the work of several leading public health organizations, which ranks New Jersey 48th in smoking education and cessation efforts. The state this year spent $500,000 on these programs, just 0.5 percent of the $103.3 million recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

In New Jersey, 8.2 percent of high school students smoke, and 3,500 kids become regular smokers each year. Tobacco use claims 11,800 New Jersey lives and costs the state $4.1 billion in healthcare bills annually.

New Jersey should do better next year on all fronts: The governor just signed A-3338/S-862, which dedicates one percent of cigarette and other tobacco products tax revenues to anti-smoking initiatives.

The report — “Broken Promises to Our Children: A State-by-State Look at the 1998 Tobacco Settlement 19 Years Later” — was released by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN), American Heart Association, American Lung Association, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights, and Truth Initiative.

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