TRENTON, N.J. – Assemblyman Brian Bergen questioned the Murphy administration’s decision Wednesday to leave off 116,000 public school teachers from the newly announced list of those eligible for the Covid-19 vaccine. Instead, smokers are eligible for the early round of vaccination.
“I am appalled that the Murphy administration would prioritize people who make the life choice to smoke cigarettes to receive the vaccine before our teachers and daycare employees on the front lines every day,” said Bergen (R-Morris), a former smoker who quit 16 years ago.
“I know how hard it is to quit and how serious the health effects of smoking can be,” explained Bergen. “With that said, it is a personal choice to smoke and people should not get ahead in line for a vaccine because they chose a lifestyle that puts them at a higher risk.”
Bergen recently introduced a bi-partisan bill with Sen. Cody (D-Morris/Essex) that would require businesses that sell tobacco to also sell smoking cessation products. The Senate Health Committee plans to hold a hearing on the bill at 1 p.m. today. This would put the alternative front and center every time a smoker goes to purchase their cigarettes.
“The Murphy administration and Assembly Democrats refuse to create policy that prioritizes personal responsibility and always fall back on enabling people to make bad choices. What we should be doing is helping smokers quit the terrible habit.”