In a recently issued report, the American Cancer Society, American
Heart Association, American Lung Association, and Campaign for Tobacco-Free
Kids said New Jersey and three other states - Maine, Maryland and
Indiana - had emerged as "new leaders" in tobacco-use
prevention because their elected officials had resisted cutting
prevention programs despite budget problems.
Jersey has been recognized by prominent anti-tobacco organizations
as a national leader in tobacco-use prevention," said Governor
James E. McGreevey.
Jersey also stood out among the states because the Governor signed
into law a 70-cents-per pack increase in the cigarette tax and committed
to use some of the new revenue to gradually increase funding for
the state's tobacco prevention program from $30 million a year in
Fiscal Years 2002 and 2003 to $45 million in FY2006.
to the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, the State can expect the
tax increase to prevent some 61,000 kids alive today from becoming
smokers, save 30,000 New Jersey residents from smoking-caused deaths,
produce $1.1 billion in long-term health care savings, and raise
roughly $300 million a year in new revenue.
in tough fiscal times, we must protect what matters most to the
future of our state - the health of our people, our families and
our communities," said McGreevey, a former member of the National
Cancer Advisory Board. "The Comprehensive Tobacco Control Program
prevents our residents from smoking and helps others quit - and
now coupled with a cigarette tax increase of an additional 70 cents
- we can go even further in preventing some of the deaths, illnesses
and disabilities caused by tobacco use. It's good fiscal policy
and good health policy."
almost 13,000 New Jersey residents dying each year from diseases
related to tobacco use, McGreevey added that 18.4 percent of New
Jersey adults - or one million - smoke and each year more than 20,000
New Jersey youths become addicted to smoking.
Jersey was the only one of the 17 states that has increased cigarette
taxes this year to commit some of the new revenue to increasing
funding for tobacco prevention. New Jersey currently ranks tenth
in the nation in funding tobacco prevention.
are faced with their first budget shortfalls since the 1998 settlement
with the tobacco industry. Unlike New Jersey, many have responded
by cutting tobacco-prevention programs. FY 03 funding across the
country is expected to be cut by $102.3 million, or more than 13
percent, the organizations said in the report.
"Tobacco use is the single most preventable cause of death
and disease. Our Department is committed to tobacco prevention and
control initiatives to help keep young people from starting to smoke
and help current smokers quit," said Health and Senior Services
Commissioner Clifton R. Lacy, M.D. "Smoking is an addiction.
Innovative and effective treatment programs are critical to effectively
reduce the number of people in New Jersey who smoke"
Nearly seven out of 10 New Jersey smokers want to quit. Under the
Comprehensive Tobacco Control Program, New Jersey offers three customized
no- or low-cost cessation services: New Jersey Quitnet (www.nj.quitnet.com),
a free online information, counseling, and referral resource; New
Jersey Quitline (1-866-NJ-STOPS), a toll-free, no-cost telephone
counseling service; and New Jersey Quitcenters, face-to-face clinics
offer counseling on a sliding fee scale.
more information, please visit the DHSS website at www.state.nj.us/health.