As of November 1, 2017, New Jersey became the third state, behind Hawaii and California, to raise its smoking age from 19 to 21. The New Jersey law applies to e-cigarettes and conventional tobacco products, and triggers fines against anyone who sells or offers such products to those under 21.
In addition, the STOMP (Stop Tobacco Offenses Merchant Program) Out Youth Tobacco Use campaign was created to increase merchant education on age of sale requirements and help decrease youth access to tobacco products and exposure to tobacco advertising.
In October 2017, Get Healthy Camden partnered with Tobacco Free South Jersey, the Camden County Department of Health and Human Services, The Food Trust, and Lourdes Health System to conduct tobacco audits of a sample of stores in the City of Camden. We also piloted a training module to recruit and teach Camden residents to perform tobacco audits and become Tobacco 21 advocates.
The tobacco audits included an initial sample of 109 corner stores, 50 of which were part of The Food Trust’s Healthy Corner Store Initiative. The audits assessed: 1) types of products sold in corner stores (e.g., cigarettes, flavored cigarettes, cigars, cigarellos, e-cigarettes), 2) advertising of such products on the interior and exterior of the stores, and 3) pricing of cigarettes (menthol and non-menthol).
Audit results revealed that 99% of stores in Camden sold flavored tobacco products, compared to 71% for all of New Jersey. Just over half (52%) of tobacco retailer establishments in Camden were within 1/4 mile walking distance from a school.
The group is now working on ordinances to reduce tobacco use, including: 1) Limiting percentage of all advertising within store windows, 2) Restricting new tobacco retail stores (near schools), and 3) Restricting the sale of flavored tobacco products.