New Jersey fight to restrict the sale of flavored vape products comes in the wake of a report finding the state saw the greatest switch from tobacco use to vaping.
Governor Phil Murphy signed legislation to make New Jersey the first state in the nation to impose a permanent ban on flavored vape products. The legislation, sponsored by state Senators Shirley Turney, Richard Codey, and Joseph Vitale and Assemblymembers Herb Conaway, Jr., Carol Murphy and Valerie Vainieri Huttle, prohibits the sale and distribution of flavored vape products, including menthol.
“Research shows that flavored electronic smoking devices and products, such as mint, candy, fruit, and chocolate, are extremely appealing, especially to children, states Gov. Murphy.
For lawmakers, the risk to kids was the main motivator to enact the law.
“We know what needs to be done to help keep kids safe and that’s what we’re doing with this law,” said Huttle.
“There is no doubt that the tobacco industry have used flavored vaping products as a means of enticing young people to use their products, making them prone to addiction and a lifetime of serious health risks,” said Codey. “The flavors are a marketing ploy to get them hooked at a young age, when they are more susceptible and more vulnerable, physically and socially.”
Codey wants to bring the same urgency to vaping that has decreased the use of tobacco in the state. “We now have to do the same for flavored vaping products because the risk to young people is more immediate and just as severe,” he said.
Vape Use Increases in NJ
The legislation comes on the heels of a report finding New Jersey experienced a 17% tobacco use decline over 10 years while experiencing a 35% increase in vaping, according to the insurance shopping website Quote Wizard, which analyzed data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Nationwide, there was a 10% decrease in smoking and an 8% increase in vaping.
The data showed New Jersey saw the greatest switch from tobacco use to vaping. The state’s rate difference between smoking and vaping was 52.2%, according to the CDC data.
Samantha DeAlmeida, New Jersey government relations director for the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Active Network, told NJ101.5.com the good and bad news here is progress made in decreasing tobacco use is tempered by the rise in vaping.
“Most people don’t equate vaping or E-cigarettes as tobacco products. They are, by definition, tobacco products,” she said. “One thing that we haven’t done such a great job on is funding our tobacco prevention and cessation programs. We have had years where it’s been zeroed out.”
She says banning flavored vaping is a good first step. “We just need to keep up that progress and continue to offer services for cessation, not only for youth that are now going to be hopefully quitting E-cigarettes and vaping products, but also for the adults that want to quit, as well.”