"The State of New Jersey has passed a law which prohibits us from accepting coupons or offering any price reductions on tobacco products.

Any questions should be directed to Governor Murphy or your local representative or call 609-292-6000"

This was the sign I saw inside a convenience store today. Not being a smoker it took me by surprise. I did a little digging and sure enough, largely lost in mist when flavored vapes were being banned was a not much talked about law that quietly passed and went into effect March 1.

Now in New Jersey no store is allowed to honor any coupon, price promotion, rebate, etc. for tobacco products and vape products. Nil. Nada. Nothing. This punitive law is more virtue signaling from a government that claims to care so much about public health yet didn't have the fiscal balls to go ahead with a ban on menthol cigarettes because it was a budget concern. New Jersey makes a lot of money in taxes off tobacco products. If they're so concerned about people's health, they could just be the first state to outright ban the sale of this deadly product. At the very least they could consider it 'blood money' and not tax it at all.

But no. They not only want that tax money, they are now talking of increasing it to among the highest of all states and only behind Washington, D.C.. At present New Jersey taxes a pack of cigarettes at $2.70, the 10th highest in the nation. The proposal calls for an increase of $1.65 bringing it to $4.35.

So money is key. For the government, that is. They don't care about the smoker who struggles with a habit they'd probably prefer not to be saddled with. Many have quit by using vapes, but the short-sighted in Trenton of course ban and tax those too. So is it really about the public health?

Granted, even with denying a smoker saving some money with coupons New Jersey will still get their full tax. But this is virtue signaling at its worst. It's a bad law, and it's here.

Don't blame your store clerk. Blame Phil Murphy and the Democrats.

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