N.J. lawmakers weigh tougher teen tobacco law

March 13, 2008 3:29:10 PM PDT
The Assembly has approved a bill making it illegal for anyone under 19 to use or possess tobacco. It voted 53-20 Thursday to approve the bill suggested by Nutley high school students.

The Senate must still consider the measure.

Violators would face written warnings and community service.

It's illegal for anyone under 19 in New Jersey to buy tobacco, but possessing tobacco is not illegal.

Sponsors cite statistics showing that one-third of New Jersey high schoolers smoke at least occasionally and 90 percent of smokers begin before they turn 18.

They say New Jersey would become the 20th state with such a law.