NJDOH Commissioner Issues Statement on Increased Use of E Cigarette, Tobacco by Youth
“To curb the increasing use of JUUL and other e-cigarette products among New Jersey middle and high school students, the Department of Health is investing $7 million in a youth education campaign and “Youth Action Teams” that are developing social media messages to prevent peers from using these addictive products,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Shereef Elnahal.
Officials say part of the $7 million is also being used to fund 11 regional “quit centers” in a dozen counties with the highest incident of cancers and tobacco-related diseases: Atlantic, Cape May, Cumberland, Essex, Hudson, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Ocean, Union, Passaic, and Salem.
As part of the funding, NJ Quitline (1-866-657-8677), a telephone-counseling service, will implement electronic referrals for smokers who want to quit.
A “Youth Tobacco Survey” of New Jersey public high school students in the 2016-17 school year found e-cigarettes had become the most common nicotine or tobacco product in use among this group.
About 21 percent said they had tried e-cigarettes, compared with 17.4 percent for cigarettes, 17.2 percent for cigars and 15.9 percent for hookah pipe tobacco. Overall, 39 percent said they had tried a tobacco product and 16.8 percent said they were regular users.
New Jersey has taken strong steps to protect the public from the harmful effects of tobacco.
New Jersey raised the minimum age to buy tobacco products from 19 to 21 in November 2017. The law covered the sale of all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes and other electronic smoking products. In 2006, New Jersey became the 11th state to pass the Smoke-Free Air Act prohibiting smoking in public buildings. In 2010, it became the first state to add electronic tobacco products to that law.
According to authorities, Gov. Phil Murphy in July signed a law banning smoking at public beaches and parks. That same month, new steps were announced to help New Jersey Medicaid recipients quit by making it easier to receive tobacco cessation medications and counseling.
Medicaid will remove the requirement that individuals need prior approval from their health plan before they obtain tobacco cessation medications. In January, Medicaid will add group counseling for tobacco cessation to services it covers.