MASCIA: Secondhand smoke a drag on N.J. parks, beaches | Cigarettes Blog

Thursday, March 31, 2011

MASCIA: Secondhand smoke a drag on N.J. parks, beaches

There is legislation pending in New Jersey that would ban smoking in public parks and on beaches. The bill, sponsored by Sens. Barbara Buono (D-Middlesex) and Loretta Weinberg (D-Bergen) and Assemblywomen Valerie Vanieri Huttle (D-Bergen) and Connie Wagner (D-Bergen), is at a standstill. . . .

New Jersey currently spends $600,000 annually on tobacco prevention and cessation programs, a dramatic decline from last year's $7.6 million budget. The $600,000 is just 0.5 percent of the national Centers for Disease Control recommended $119.8 million funding. In the past three years, New Jersey has virtually eliminated its tobacco prevention program, cutting funding by 95 percent (from $11 million).

New Jersey will pay a high price with more children and teenagers smoking, more lives lost to tobacco and higher tobacco-related health care costs. Even in these difficult budget times, tobacco prevention is a smart investment that saves lives and saves money by reducing health care costs.

New Jersey ranks 46th in the nation in funding programs to prevent kids from smoking and help smokers quit . . .

Laws that prohibit smoking in public places and create smoke-free environments are the most effective approach to prevent exposure to -- and harm from -- toxic secondhand smoke.

Let's follow New York City's lead and make New Jersey's beaches and parks smoke-free. It's another step toward creating a world with less cancer.


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