NORTH PLAINFIELD, NJ - The North Plainfield Borough Council, at its July 13 meeting, approved a resolution to encourage the state to raise the legal smoking age to 21.

Last month, the council defeated an ordinance proposed by Council Vice President Doug Singleterry to raise the legal smoking age to 21 but agreed to consider a resolution urging the state Assembly to pass a statewide law raising the age. As a result, Singleterry drafted and proposed resolution 07-13-15-01k, which the council approved Monday night by a vote of 6-0; Councilwoman Wendy Schaefer was not present.

In June 2014, a bill sponsored by Senators Joseph Vitale (D-Middlesex) and Richard J. Codey (D-Essex) raising the legal age to 21 passed the Senate by a vote of 22 to 10. The New Jersey State Assembly has yet to pass the companion bill and, as a result, the bill still pending before the Assembly Health and Senior Services Committee.

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“Be it resolved by the North Plainfield Borough Council hereby requests that the New Jersey State Assembly pass bill A3254 raising the tobacco purchasing age to 21 and establishing New Jersey as a public health leader in reducing underage smoking and preventable deaths,” reads resolution 07-13-15-01k. Singleterry thanked the council for supported the resolution and said he is hopeful “the state will move forward and make the right decision.”

Currently, the legal smoking age in North Plainfield and throughout much of the state (with the exception of nine municipalities) is 19; had the ordinance in North Plainfield passed, the borough would have been the ninth municipality in New Jersey – and the first in Somerset County – to prohibit the sale of tobacco and other nicotine products to persons under 21 years old.