Bill could make teen tobacco illegal

Lawmakers target teens
March 6, 2008 1:05:18 PM PST
New Jersey lawmakers are targeting teen smoking. An Assembly health committee on Monday advanced a bill to prohibit the use and possession of tobacco by those under age 19. Violators would face community service.

While it's currently illegal for anyone under 19 to buy tobacco, possessing it is not.

Sponsors of the bill cite statistics showing a third of New Jersey high schoolers smoke at least occasionally and 90 percent of smokers begin before they turn 18.

They say New Jersey would become the 20th state with such a law.

The bill passed the Assembly in 1999 and the Senate in 2000 but then-Gov. Christie Whitman failed to act on it.