N.J. may divert one percent of tobacco tax for anti-smoking programs

 . (AP file photo)

. (AP file photo)

The American Cancer Society said New Jersey has advanced policies to prevent smoking-related problems but needs to do more.

Brian Shott with the Society’s Cancer Action Network said nearly 12,000 people die every year in the Garden State because of tobacco use.

He hopes the state Senate will give final approval to a bill dedicating one percent of New Jersey’s cigarette tax revenue to smoking prevention programs.

“There’s an economic reason why this make sense to provide this funding. Tobacco use results in over $4 billion in health care expenditures in New Jersey annually and that includes over $1 billion in Medicaid expenses. So in additional saving lives this is also something that’s been shown to save money.”

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Shott credits the state for its enacting smoke-free air laws and raising the tobacco purchase age from 19 to 21.

And he’s pleased that the state budget doubles the funding for the New Jersey Commission on Cancer Research to $2 million.

“That’s going to go a long way toward making sure that people who are doing really groundbreaking and innovative research at research universities throughout the state are going to continue to be funded especially as we’re kind of facing an uncertain future with regard to cancer research funding at the federal level.”

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