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Promoting Tobacco Control Laws

State & Federal Tobacco Laws

Public Law 2000
Chapter 87
 Summary: State Civil Penalties for Illegal Sale of Tobacco Products to Minors
 Full text

Public Law 1995
Chapter 320

Summary: State Law Authorizing Commissioner to Enforce
Existing Law Prohibiting Sale of Tobacco to Minors

Synar Amendment 1992
Public Health Service Act

Summary: Federal Law Regarding Sale of Tobacco To Minors

Tobacco Age of Sale Enforcement (TASE) Program

New Jersey law prohibits the sale of tobacco to persons under the age of 19. This law, enacted on January 15, 2006, replaced a 1996 law which made it illegal to sell tobacco products to minors under the age of 18. Raising the age by one year made it more difficult for young people, especially high school students, to purchase cigarettes.

In 1994, a Statewide Task Force, interested in limiting the access to tobacco products by youth, conducted a survey to determine the compliance rate to existing laws that prohibited the sale of tobacco products to minors. That survey revealed that 84% of the merchants sampled sold tobacco to kids.

In 1996, Governor Whitman signed into law two key pieces of legislation restricting the access to tobacco products by youth. One law gave clear enforcement authority to the Commissioner of Health and the ability to delegate that responsibility to Local Health Departments (LHDs). The second law provided a funding mechanism for enforcement activities.

There are 2 major components to the NJ Tobacco Age of Sale Enforcement (TASE) Program:

  • Education of retail merchants on the law prohibiting the sale of tobacco products to minors. Merchant Education Packets, signage for placement at points of entry and points of sale, and flyers in eleven (11) languages are available to merchants through the TASE program staff or through Local Health Officers.
  • Enforcement of the law forbidding the sale of tobacco products to youth. Random unannounced compliance check inspections are conducted by DHSS staff or Local Health Officers (LHOs) accompanied by underage youth.

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Department of Health and Senior Services
P. O. Box 360
Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

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