2021 New Jersey Legislative Priorities

There will be an estimated 53,000 new cancer cases and over 15,000 cancer deaths in New Jersey in 2021. Victory in the fight against cancer requires bold new public policies that promote cancer prevention, early detection of cancer, and expand access to quality, affordable health care. In 2021, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) will work with Governor Murphy and the New Jersey Legislature in support of the following priorities:


Fiscal Year 2021-22 Budget Priorities


  • New Jersey Tobacco Control Programs: A well-funded tobacco control program will not only produce long-term savings but can have an immediate benefit on the health of New Jerseyans. With nearly 12,000 New Jerseyans losing their lives to smoking each year New Jersey needs to continue investing in tobacco control if it is to further reduce state tobacco use. BUDGET REQUEST: ACS CAN will advocate that New Jersey maintain the $7.8 million in state funding for tobacco control programs in Fiscal Year 2021-22.


  • New Jersey State Commission on Cancer Research (NJCCR):  For more than 30 years, NJCCR has funded promising cancer research in New Jersey. NJCCR promotes significant and original research in New Jersey into causes, prevention, treatment and palliation of cancer and serves as a resource to providers and consumers of cancer services. BUDGET REQUEST: ACS CAN will advocate that New Jersey maintain the $2 million in funding for the NJCCR in Fiscal Year 2021-22.


  • New Jersey Cancer Education and Early Detection Screening Program (NJCEED): NJ CEED offers a critically important service to men and women who lack health insurance – free cancer screening for breast, cervical, colorectal and prostate cancer. Detected early, these cancers are more easily treated. Failing to have these cancers detected early can lead to deadly consequences. BUDGET REQUEST: ACS CAN will advocate that New Jersey maintain the current $3.5 million in funding for NJCEED in Fiscal Year 2021-22.

2021 Legislative Priorities


Improving Access to Prevention, Early Detection, Treatment and Care

  • Step Therapy: ACS CAN will advocate for legislation to regulate the use of insurer step therapy or fail first policies to ensure that they are used appropriately. Step therapy policies are used by health insurers to require a patient to try and fail on other drug options before coverage is granted for the medication initially prescribed by the patient’s health care provider.  (A4815/S3051)

Reducing the Toll of Tobacco 

  • End the Sale of Menthol Cigarettes and All Other Flavored Tobacco Products:  ACS CAN will continue to advocate to end the sale of menthol cigarettes and ALL other flavored tobacco products in New Jersey. We have made progress by the restricting the sale of flavored e-cigarettes, however, menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars remain on the market creating a health disparity in the state that needs to be addressed. (A964/S514)


  • Increase the State Cigarette Tax By $1.65 Per Pack and Dedicate 10 Percent of The Revenue to Smoking Cessation and Prevention Programs: It’s estimated that if New Jersey raises its cigarette tax by $1.65 per pack that 23,700 youth under 18 will be kept from becoming adults who smoke, 18,700 premature smoking-related deaths will be prevented and over $100 million in new annual revenue will be generated while saving the state $1.44 billion in long-term health care costs from the declines in adult and youth smoking rates.


  • Permanently Close the Casino Loophole in the New Jersey Smoke-Free Air Act: New Jersey’s casinos remain the only places exempted from New Jersey’s Smoke-Free Air Act. This puts the health of the nearly 30,000 employees at the nine New Jersey casinos at risk in addition to the casino patrons. New Jersey must permanently close the loophole that allows smoking, including marijuana, in casinos.

Healthy Eating and Active Living

  • Healthy Default Beverages for Kid’s Meals:  ACS CAN will work to ensure that restaurant meals marketed to New Jersey kids meet minimum nutrition standards including ensuring that a healthy beverage (water, 100% juice or milk) is the default beverage offered as part of kid’s meals and kid’s menus. (A1741/S521)