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Trenton Makes You

While cigarette smoking among high school students nationwide has fallen to about 8%, e-cigarette use among high schoolers rose by an alarming 78% in 2018 alone – to 20.8% of the student population or more than 3.6 million middle and high school students. Learn more

In New Jersey, nearly 10% of high school students use e-cigarettes, while about 5% smoke cigarettes. Tobacco use claims 11,800 lives in New Jersey and costs the state more than $4 billion in health care bills each year.

In Trenton, the tobacco products of choice are hookahs and mini-cigars, which are far less expensive options than cigarettes or electronic vapor products, based on a 2018 survey of 3,200 middle and high school students. 

More than 9% of students ages 12-19 participating in the 2018 survey reported using tobacco or nicotine in the previous 30 days. Of those, more than 5% reported using hookahs and nearly 5% reported smoking cigars in the previous 30 days, compared to 1.5% smoking cigarettes and less than 4% using electronic vapor products.

Youth and health advocates are urging strong action to reverse the youth e-cigarette epidemic. In particular, they are calling on the Food and Drug Administration, states and cities to ban all flavored tobacco products, including e-cigarettes in flavors like cotton candy, gummy bear and mango that tempt kids. Other effective strategies to reduce youth tobacco use include significant tobacco tax increases, comprehensive smoke-free laws, well-funded tobacco prevention programs and laws raising the tobacco sale age to 21– which New Jersey already adopted.

Tobacco 21 is a national campaign aimed at raising the minimum legal age of selling or purchasing tobacco product to 21 years. Supported by many organizations, including the American Heart Association, Institute of Medicine, and American Academy of Pediatrics, the campaign has sparked change across the country at the local, state, and national levels. Trenton became the 215th city to adopt Tobacco 21 on February 16, 2017. Here, we will answer some frequently asked questions regarding Tobacco 21, why it is vital, and what its impact will be. 

This effort was part of a multi-year partnership between Trenton Health Team’and Trinity Health’s Transforming Communities Initiative. While the grant has concluded, our work to to address policy, systems, environmental (PSE) change and social determinants of health continues.


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