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NJ lawmakers to make smoking 21 and over?

By Rosa Duarte, Reporter, RDuarte@wfmz.com
Published On: May 16 2013 07:00:00 PM CDT
Updated On: May 17 2013 04:43:22 AM CDT

Some lawmakers in New Jersey want to raise the state's minimum age for buying a pack of cigarettes from 19 to 21.

Some lawmakers in New Jersey want to raise the state's minimum age for buying a pack of cigarettes from 19 to 21.

New Jersey state Senator Richard Codey and Assemblyman Ruben Ramos announced the plan Thursday and plan to introduce the bill Monday to the state legislature.

"This is mostly a preventative measure where smokers become habitual smokers. Research shows us between the ages of 18 and 21 they become life long smokers and obviously it becomes much more difficult for them to kick the habit" said Ramos.

Even though some young smokers like 22-year-old Jack Barlow, may agree with the health concerns, they don't think a new law will have any impact.

“It won't make a difference at all. I've seen people 18 and they still can't get cigarettes but they find the cigarettes one way or another, no law is going to change that,” said Barlow.

Others, like Phillipsburg N.J. resident Janel Romagnoli think the proposal is unfair.

“I feel if you're 18 and go in the Army and shoot people and kill people, why do you have to be 21 to buy cigarettes or drink alcohol?” Romagnoli asked.

The bill won't just prohibit the sale of regular cigarettes to those under 21, but also electronic cigarettes, which don't contain any tobacco but do have nicotine.

For Assemblyman Ruben Ramos, a cancer survivor himself, it's all about health.

“Legislation comes from life experiences and some comes from my experience of being a cancer survivor and what I went through, and what can be prevented for other young people potentially to not have to go through what I went through” he said.