Youth Smoking Prompts American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network to Seek Legislation Addressing Tobacco Addiction

ACS CAN Eager to Work with the Legislature to Reduce Big Tobacco’s Toll on New Jerseyans Also to Improve Access to Care and to Work to Make Healthy Food Available

January 27, 2020

TRENTON, NJ. – As lawmakers dive into the new legislative session, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) is pursuing legislation that will ease the burden of cancer in New Jersey.

Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death, leads to disease and disability, and harms nearly every organ of the body. Over 13% of adults in New Jersey smoke. Approximately 10% of high school students use e-cigarettes. More than half (54%) of youth ages 12-17 who smoke use menthol cigarettes. That's higher than any other age group. Nearly 12,000 deaths each year in the state occur as a result of smoking. There are 143,000 kids now under 18 and alive in New Jersey who will ultimately die prematurely from smoking. Smoking kills more people than alcohol, AIDS, car crashes, illegal drugs, murders, and suicides combined — and thousands more die from other tobacco-related causes.

ACS CAN is advocating for:

Restricting the Sale of All Flavored Tobacco Products:  ACS CAN will continue to advocate for ALL flavored tobacco products to be banned 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.

ACS CAN is also advocating for improved access to care and Healthy Eating and Active living for all New Jerseyans:

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.

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 a healthy beverage (water, 100% juice or milk) is the default beverage offered as part of kid’s meals and kid’s menus.  

ACS CAN looks forward to working with our legislators and Governor Murphy to help save lives and protect health in New Jersey.



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

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Marc Kaplan
Senior Regional Media Advocacy Manager
Albany, NY