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TRENTON, N.J. – sale and distribution of flavored vaping products including menthol will soon be considered illegal as Governor Phil Murphy signed several bills into law including Senate Bill 3265 imposing a permanent ban on flavored vaping products.
Retailers and vape shops are required to pull out their products and clear their shelves within ninety (90) days or to pivot any other business aside from the sale of vaping products. The measure would bar menthol and other flavor but permits tobacco flavor. The new law is set to take effect on the 20th of April 2020 across the state.
Everything You Need to Know About Vaping Ban Law in New Jersey
As background, last September 12, 2019, an Executive Order Number 48 establishing the Electronic Smoking Device Task Force was signed by Governor Murphy. The panel was directed to formulate a comprehensive study on the effects of electronic cigarettes on the residents of New Jersey and is expected to submit their recommendation within twenty-one (21) days.
Before this, the Senate enacted legislation to strengthen the regulation of the sale of tobacco products including vape products in the New Jersey market. Such legislation also seeks to establish a tracking system to vaping products and increase penalties for retailers caught selling vaping products to anyone under age twenty-one (21). Under New Jersey law, any person above twenty-one years of age is legally allowed to smoke.
However, this legislation was vetoed by Governor Murphy. The exercise of the veto power of the governor, apparently suggests that regulations of tobacco products in New Jersey including electronic cigarettes are not the solution to the smoking problem. The governor instead, requires a total ban of flavored vaping products.
The recommendation submitted by the panel was the basis of the legislation. Lawmakers that sponsored the legislation include Senators Shirley Turner (D-15th), Richard Codey (D-27th) and Joseph Vitale (D-19th), and Assembly members Herb Conaway Jr. (D-7th), Carol Murphy (D-7th) and Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-37th).
The legislation is in response to the growing concern of the ill effects of electronic cigarettes among youths. According to the U.S Centers for Disease Control, more than two thousand six hundred (2,600) residents of New Jersey have been confined in various hospitals and sixty (60) have perished due to mysterious lung illness. The proponent of the bill claims that the measure is the most effective way to address safety concerns of vaping among children.
Though, the opponents of the legislation claim that instead of a permanent ban, officials should strengthen the enforcement of smoking against minors rather than barring age adults from buying and enjoying the product. The new law, as argued by the opponents of the legislation, will only expand the black market as people will try to manufacture flavored vaping products at home.
Amidst the pros and cons, the Governor signed the bill into a law based on data and research results which shows that flavored aromas increase a child’s likelihood of future e-cigarette addiction as flavored electronic smoking devices and products, such as mint, candy, fruit, and chocolate, are extremely appealing, especially to children.
Vaping Ban – How will it Affect the Vaping Industry?
With the current ban of flavored vaping products in the Garden City, large tobacco companies that introduce this device to the public may potentially shift their business models to increase the manufacturing and production of regular cigarettes; as the same is not covered by the local legislation. They may temporarily incur business losses but will eventually bounce back as they would simply circle back to regular cigarette production.
Not unless they would convert their business to some other trade, the greater impact will be felt by vape shop owners and retailers. This will force vape shop owners and retailers to either bankruptcy or change of business model. Once the law takes effect, the sale and distribution of flavored vaping products become illegal and offenders can be prosecuted and subject to the imposition of fines and penalty as prescribed by the law. If you think you are affected by this law or not all parts of it are clear to you, it’s recommended to consult a drug attorney so you will be guided accordingly.
Is Vaping Safer than Traditional Smoking?
An electronic cigarette is a battery-operated device that is considered as an alternative to smoking. Medical study indicates that traditional or regular cigarette smoking has been linked to being the direct cause of fatal respiratory diseases such as pneumonia, emphysema and lung cancer. While there are claims carried out by some groups that the components of electronic cigarettes are safer than traditional cigarettes—but this does not have any proven medical basis.
What has been medically proven is that electronic cigarettes are as well as just as addictive as traditional ones since both contain nicotine, which is equally addictive similar to prohibited drugs such as cocaine and heroin. Nicotine is the main component in both regular cigarettes and electronic cigarettes. This substance can cause craving and may result in withdrawal syndrome if the craving is ignored. It is also a toxic substance that raises blood pressure and spikes up the adrenaline, which surges your heart rate and increases the likelihood of having a heart attack.
There has been an increasing number of traditional smokers who shifted to vaping based on the assumption that electronic cigarettes are less harmful than regular smoking. But with the current ban on flavored vaping products, former cigarette smokers who switch to vaping may potentially go back to traditional cigarette smoking, thus, defeating the purpose of the law which is the protection of health and safety of the people.
Contrary to some claims, electronic cigarettes are not the best alternative for traditional smoking. Although they have been marketed as an aid to help a smoker quit smoking, most vape users ended up with increased nicotine consumption as they continue to smoke both traditional and electronic cigarettes.
What is the Charge to Offenders?
The law bars the sale and distribution of vaping products with a distinct taste or aroma, but it does not consider possession as illegal. For any establishment that violates the law, the penalty consists of fines as high as $2,000. While repeat offenders could be subject to a three-year suspension of business license after a third offense. And finally, a total license revocation after a fourth offense.
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