House Committee Focuses on Public Health with Increased Tobacco Tax, Greater Access to Affordable Health Care
The House Ways and Means Committee is expected to vote today on legislation that if enacted would greatly improve public health.
TRENTON, NJ – As Gov. Murphy prepares to release his 2020-21 budget proposal, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) and the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids (CTFK) have unveiled new information that powerfully supports increasing the tax on cigarettes in New Jersey by $1.65 a pack.
The new data shows that increasing the New Jersey cigarette tax by $1.65 per pack would result in:
A $1.65 per pack boost would raise the rate to $4.35 per pack. It has been 11 years since New Jersey has increased its cigarette tax and this proposal, if passed and enacted, will put New Jersey on par with states like New York and Connecticut. Increasing the tax on all other tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, to parallel the increased cigarette tax would generate additional health and economic benefits for New Jersey.
In accordance with the 2017 New Jersey Cigarette Tax Act, 1% of the total revenue generated from the state cigarette tax must be dedicated for tobacco control and prevention. That resulted in approximately $7 million in fiscal year 2019-2020. Increasing the tax in 2020-2021 would therefore not only generate millions in revenue for the state but also strengthen tobacco control and prevention efforts.
Lower smoking rates translate into fewer smoking-related disease and premature deaths, reduced spending on smoking-related health problems, and more productive workers.
11,800 New Jersey adults die from smoking each year, and 143,000 New Jersey kids under 18 will ultimately die prematurely from smoking if nothing is done to reduce tobacco use in New Jersey. New Jersey has an opportunity to act to save lives when it adopts the 2020-2021 budget.
ACS CAN and CTFK look forward to working with Gov. Murphy and the state legislature to pass this proposal which will save lives and protect the health of all New Jerseyans.
“When you add this undeniable information to the fact that New Jersey is facing a multi-billion-dollar COVID-19 related budget deficit, it is a no-brainer,” said ACS CAN New Jersey Government Relations Director Michael Davoli. “Increasing the cigarette tax will save lives, protect health, bring in badly needed revenue and save billions.”
"A significant increase in the tobacco tax is one of the single-most effective ways to reduce adult smoking and to prevent kids from ever starting" said Kevin O'Flaherty, Regional Advocacy Director for the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. If NJ wants to do everything it can to reduce smoking and lung disease in the age of COVID-19, increasing the cigarette tax by $1.65 per pack is a smart place to start."
About ACS CAN
The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) is making cancer a top priority for public officials and candidates at the federal, state and local levels. ACS CAN empowers advocates across the country to make their voices heard and influence evidence-based public policy change as well as legislative and regulatory solutions that will reduce the cancer burden. As the American Cancer Society’s nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate, ACS CAN is critical to the fight for a world without cancer. For more information, visit www.fightcancer.org.
The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids is the leading advocacy organization working to reduce tobacco use and its deadly consequences in the United States and around the world. Through strategic communications and policy advocacy campaigns, we promote the adoption of proven solutions that are most effective at reducing tobacco use and save the most lives.