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Would you be in favor of banning cigarette sales to anyone under 21?

 Justin Sullivan, Getty Images

Justin Sullivan, Getty Images

It’s come to Englewood, and it could be happening statewide, if certain lawmakers have their way.
The town has adopted an ordinance banning the sale of nicotine delivery products such as cigarettes, cigars, and e-cigarettes to anyone under the age of 21.

Of course they don’t say whether you are banned from smoking under the age of 21 – just that retailers can’t sell any of the above-mentioned products to you until you’re 21.

While I’d caution anyone under 21 as to the ills of smoking – fact is, if you’re 18 there are plenty of things you’re able to do – but buying alcohol and now cigarettes aren’t among them.

Good idea – or another piece of useless legislation.

According to The Record of Bergen County, this has convenience store owners in an uproar, as cigarette sales make up a good part of their income.

“It is the right of every adult consumer to decide which products to indulge in and which to abstain from,” said Sal Risalvato, executive director of the New Jersey Gasoline-Convenience-Automotive Association. “This ordinance removes that freedom of choice from legal adults, who are old enough to sign a contract, get married or go to war, yet are apparently incapable of deciding whether to use tobacco products.”

“Where are the penalties for the individuals who attempt to purchase cigarettes in violation of the city ordinance?” he asked.

Sen. Richard Codey, D-Essex, one of several legislators pushing to raise the minimum age to buy cigarettes anywhere in New Jersey to 21, put it more bluntly.
“They care about their bottom line and that’s that,” Codey said of cigarette sellers. “This is about saving lives.”

As governor in 2006, Codey signed into law legislation that raised the minimum purchase age from 18 to 19. His new bill would ban the purchase and sale of tobacco products and electronic smoking devices to anyone under 21.

“You have better judgment at 21 than you do at 19,” said Codey.

Considering that the sale of cigarettes brings in boatloads of tax revenue into the state – wouldn’t we be using our “better judgment” to just ban the sale of cigarettes altogether?

I know, it’s crazy talk – but to quote the esteemed state senator: “They care about their bottom line and that’s that,” Codey said of cigarette sellers. “This is about saving lives.”

If it’s all about “saving lives” – then why not just ban the sale of them altogether?

Crazy talk indeed!

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