Princeton considers raising legal age to buy tobacco

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Wednesday, April 1, 2015

PRINCETON, N.J. (WPVI) -- Lawmakers in Princeton are considering an ordinance that would ban the sale of tobacco products to customers under the age of 21.

It was introduced by the town's board of health last week. The bill would affect 18 stores in Princeton.

If passed, any retailers who sell tobacco to customers younger than 21 would face a $250 fine. A second violation would yield a $500 fine. After that, businesses would be fined a $1,000 penalty per violation.

The ordinance comes on the heels of a report issued last month by the Institute of Medicine. It projected 223,000 fewer premature deaths will happen to people born between 2000 and 2019, if the legal purchase age for tobacco was raised to 21.

However, board members say they did not introduce the ordinance because of the report.

Right now, New Jersey residents must be 19 to buy tobacco. If passed, Princeton would be the fifth town in New Jersey to adopt such a law.

The ordinance will be the subject of a public hearing, and up for adoption, later this month.