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New Jersey lawmakers try again to raise smoking age to 21

Gov. Chris Christie vetoed similar measure in 2016

TRENTON, N.J. - New Jersey lawmakers have again sent a measure to Gov. Chris Christie to raise the smoking age in the state to 21.

The Democratic-controlled state Assembly on Thursday approved raising the age to 21 from 19 for purchasing tobacco or electronic cigarette devices.

"Many people start smoking in their teens because of peer pressure or the desire to fit in," state Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle, a Bergen County Democrat. "Most teens feel invincible at that age and can't fully comprehend the potential for addiction as well as the devastating long-term effects smoking can have on their health. Raising the purchasing age would give them the chance to mature more before making this potentially life-altering decision."

The Senate previously approved the measure and it's now up to the Republican Christie, who vetoed a similar measure in January 2016.

It's not clear how he will act this time.

New Jersey would be the second state to have a smoking age of 21, along with Hawaii.

It passed on Thursday by a vote of 53-16, with six abstentions.


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