Dedicated Revenue For Anti-Smoking Programs In New Jersey One Vote Away

TRENTON, NJ (CBS) — A move to allocate one percent of New Jersey’s tobacco tax revenue to smoking cessation programs is one step away from becoming law.

Governor Chris Christie conditionally vetoed the proposal last month, citing the effect the $7 million move would have on the over $34 billion state budget. He wanted implementation put off for a year.

Advocates of the legislation are willing to wait.

“In New Jersey there has been no dedicated tobacco cessation and prevention services for a number of years now, and what this would do is attempt to remedy that,” Brian Shott of the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Action Network told KYW Newsradio.

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The Assembly unanimously agreed to Christie’s condition more than a week ago. The Senate has not yet taken action on the veto.

As for Christie, Shott added “We were glad to see that, even though he didn’t include the funding in this year’s budget, that Governor Christie appears to recognize the need for this funding as well.”

The state already spends $10 million on smoking cessation, but this measure sets up a dedicated funding source for the future.

Shott notes that New Jersey does well in other ways to encourage people to quit smoking, like imposing regular increases on the price of tobacco and putting smoke-free policies in place.

The agency issues a report on how states perform when it comes to cutting tobacco usage in this country. You can access that report online at www.acscan.org.

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