Resolution Supporting Statewide Smokefree Air Legislation that Preserves Local Authority To Protect Public Health

Whereas tobacco use and secondhand smoke are public health hazards, especially to children, and cause cancer, heart disease, and respiratory disease, and are responsible, each year, for the death of more than 53,000 nonsmokers in the United States, including almost 2,000 in New Jersey, and the death of more than 420,000 smokers in the United States, including more than 11,000 in New Jersey;

(1) Whereas tobacco use is a safety hazard, linked to increased fires and accidents;

(2) Whereas tobacco use imposes economic costs, borne by governments, proprietors, and nonsmokers;

(3) Whereas smokefree air policies and laws protect health and safety, and encourage everyone, especially children, to live healthy, smokefree lives or smoke less, and reduce costs;

(4) Whereas New Jersey state legislation controlling tobacco use in workplaces and public places is inadequate;

(5) Whereas the majority of New Jerseyans and other Americans do not smoke;

(6) Whereas the majority of New Jerseyans and other Americans support smokefree air in workplaces and public places and the majority of Americans support local authority to protect public health;

(7) Whereas more than 2,000 local governments throughout the United States have passed local legislation that restricts smoking, and the majority of other states do not preempt local smokefree air legislation;

(8) Whereas New Jersey has a strong home rule tradition, and its Constitution and legislation authorize local governments to enact legislation to protect public health, safety, and welfare;

(9) Whereas local authority to protect public health is threatened by a powerful, nationwide campaign that seeks legislation to preempt (eliminate) local authority to control tobacco, and that uses lawsuits to challenge local authority to control tobacco use;

(10) Whereas, in June 2000, the Princeton Regional Health Commission enacted a smokefree air ordinance, was sued by the National Smokers Alliance along with two restaurants and a bar, and, in August 2000, the Mercer County Superior Court ruled that New Jersey state law preempted the Princeton ordinance;

(11) Whereas, in spite of that August 2000 Mercer County court decision, New Jersey local governments have, since September 2000, enacted more than 90 ordinances controlling smoking outdoors and 15 ordinances controlling smoking indoors, yet other New Jersey local governments report they have not enacted legislation because of uncertainty about their authority and fear of lawsuit;

(12) Now, therefore, be it resolved that [government unit, organization, or other entity] supports New Jersey statewide smokefree air legislation for all workplaces and public places, provided such state legislation preserves local authority to enact stronger local smokefree air legislation.

[signature, name, title, date, addrees of entity]

(1-12) For brevity, this version of this resolution does not include footnote texts, citations, notes, etc. A complete version, with citations, is available at and as a printed document from New Jersey GASP, Group Against Smoking Pollution, 105 Mountain Avenue, Summit, New Jersey 07901; 908 273-9368; fax: 908 273-9222; email: