Current State laws prohibit the sale of tobacco products to a person under 18 years of age. A recent amendment to the law will increase the minimum age to 19 in April 2006. With a grant provided by the New Jersey Department of Health & Senior Services, the Environmental Health Unit (EHU) implements a Tobacco Age of Sale enforcement program.
The Tobacco Age of Sale Enforcement program involves making unannounced visits to retail businesses that sell tobacco products. High school student volunteers, under the direction of trained staff from the Environmental Health Unit, attempt to purchase tobacco products at various retail businesses. Those establishments that ask our volunteer for age identification are presented with a certificate of compliance indicating they are complying with the law. Those businesses that sell tobacco products to our volunteers are given a notice of violation and are re-inspected at a future date. Continued non-compliance may result in a court complaint being signed against the owner of the business. Penalties can range from $250 to $1,000. Over 250 establishments are visited per year.
Local police can also cite a business owner for selling tobacco products to a minor pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2A:170-51.4.