In his final days in office after the disgrace of former New Jersey Gov. James McGreevey two years ago, Acting Gov. Richard Codey imposed a statewide ban on smoking in public but let gamblers in Atlantic City’s casinos continue to puff away.
On Friday, in his final days filling in for injuRed Gov. Jon Corzine, Codey One-upped himself by quietly signing a law requiring cigarette manufacturers to use fire-retardant paper.
Yet, it’s still OK to kill people slowly in New Jersey, just so long as the state gets its share of the bounty.
Modeled after similar requirements in New York, Vermont, California, Illinois and New Hampshire, the new law (A2575 - The Reduced Cigarette Ignition Propensity and Firefighter Protection Act) says anyOne who sells old fashiOned Cigarettes can be fined $10,000.
The law’s author, Assemblyman Dr. Herbert Conaway Jr., a physician, lawyer and Democrat from Delran, Burlington County, told the Associated Press, “Cigarette fires can cause irreversible physical, psychological and financial damage to those affected. Worst of all, many of these tragedies could have been easily averted.”
So can some forms of lung cancer, but why isn’t the state banning the sale of Cigarettes entirely?
Why piecemeal laws dealing with this important health and safety concern?
Perhaps that’s because New Jersey has the highest tax on Cigarettes in the country at $2.58 a pack (about 13 cents per cigarette). Last year, the state government reaped almost $789 million from the sale of this proven carcinogen.
In fact, it’s illegal for New Jersey residents to buy their Cigarettes in other states and federal prosecutors are actively pursuing criminal cases against folks who bought thousands of cartoons over the Internet and resold them.
Meanwhile, cigarette companies keep trying to hook women and minorities on their deathtrip with no apparent outrage from our leaders, who gladly signed off on a national settlement forbidding their citizens from suing.
By the way, Conaway has several other cigarette-related bills pending, including a ban on smoking in casinos and a measure requiring health insurers to pay the costs of smoking cessation programs.