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Vainieri Huttle: Public Health Takes a Backseat to Politics

Assembly Sponsor Weighs in on Legislation Christie Vetoed that would have Raised Tobacco Purchasing Age to 21

Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle, the lead Assembly sponsor of legislation that would have raised the legal age to purchase tobacco and electronic cigarette devices from 19 to 21, issued the following statement Tuesday on Gov. Christie’s pocket veto of the bill:

“Our motivations for this bill were pure and simple – to deter more young people from picking up a dangerous and expensive habit that can irrevocably alter their life.

“We could have made New Jersey a leader, becoming just the second state to raise the age to 21, a move that is supported by an overwhelming majority of the public. Instead, the governor is playing right into the hands of the tobacco industry, which prizes this key demographic.

“Unfortunately we may never truly know why the governor didn’t sign this bill because he chose to pocket veto it and run back to the campaign trail. Public health has clearly taken a back seat to politics.

“This is all the more unfortunate because statistics have shown that raising the legal purchasing age has led to a decrease in young smokers,” said Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen).

Vainieri Huttle’s bill (A-3254) would have raised the minimum age for purchasing tobacco and electronic smoking devices from 19 to 21.