February 9, 2016 | Number of The Day
Annual healthcare costs of smoking by New Jerseyans

It costs New Jersey $4 billion a year in healthcare costs from smoking, but the state refuses to allocate anything from the budget to fund tobacco and smoking-prevention programs, according to the annual American Lung Association’s “State of Tobacco Control” report.

The association continues to chastise New Jersey for not following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines and spending at least $103 million a year on smoking-prevention programs. The organization rated each state in four general areas and found New Jesey wanting in three of them.

New Jersey earned an “F” in the report for program funding and access to cessation services. Gov. Chris Christie was specifically criticized for vetoing a measure passed by the Legislature that would have raised the smoking age to 21. The state was also awarded a “D” for taxes, presumably because the American Lung Association doesn’t think they are high enough. New Jersey did score one top mark — an “A” for smoke-free air. New Jersey bans smoking in almost all public places.