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October 28, 2020 04:00pm
By Sara Karlovitch, Assistant Editor
The ban will take effect in April, leaving 3 months for business owners to transition to the new restrictions.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy has signed Senate Bill 3265 into law, effectively banning the sale of most flavored electronic cigarettes in the Garden State. The law is the United States’ first permanent flavor ban.1
“As Governor, I am first and foremost charged with protecting the health and safety of our people. Research shows that flavored electronic smoking devices and products, such as mint, candy, fruit, and chocolate, are extremely appealing, especially to children. I commend my partners in the Legislature for reacting swiftly to the Task Force’s recommendations to pass legislation that will protect both youth and adults from the hazards of flavored electronic smoking device use,” Murphy said in a prepared statement.1
The ban will take effect in April, leaving 3 months for business owners to transition to the new restrictions, according toNJBiz.2
Murphy also signed a measure that would bar the use of coupons, and other price rebates for the purchase of tobacco, and e-cigarette products. The ban extends to flavors with the exception of menthol, mint, and wintergreen. Fines as much as $2000 can be levied upon businesses that violate the ban, and repeat offenders could be subject to a 3-year license suspension after a third offense and total license revocation after a fourth offense.2
“Study after study has shown that flavors such as cotton candy, and mango not only draw teens in, but keep them coming back when it comes to electronic cigarettes. Mint is especially popular since the menthol helps ease new users into vaping by cooling their throat, and reducing any harshness they would normally feel when inhaling the nicotine. We know what needs to be done to help keep kids safe ,and that’s what we’re doing with this law,” said State Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle, in a prepared statement.1
According to local news sources, opponents of the legislation argued that officials should better enforce the smoking age instead of barring of-age adults from buying products. Vape shop owners, and former cigarette-smokers testified that a ban could lead many users back to cigarettes, and put many local establishments out of business. The smoking age in New Jersey is 21 years.2-3
“While banning flavored vape products may seem like a step in the right direction, today’s decision is ultimately short-sighted. We must—and we can—do more than that. Users will now likely turn to street knock-offs instead, which does not address the root of the problem. In fact, consuming knock-offs may actually backfire, and expose our young people to even more contaminants,” said Indra Cidambi, MD, a New Jersey based addiction psychiatrist, and medical director at the Center for Network Therapy, in a press release.4
This law follows a recentstatementfrom the FDA, prioritizing enforcement against unauthorized flavored e-cigarette products that appeal to children, including fruit and mint flavors.
Legislation gained steam during an outbreak beginning in March 2019, with the firstmortalityoccurring in August 2019, in Illinois.
The Trump administration said earlier this month that it would move to prohibit fruit, candy, mint, and dessert flavors from small, cartridge-based e-cigarettes. The federal ban would allow for menthol, and tobacco flavored e-cigarettes to remain on the market.2
The New Jersey law bars the sale, offer for sale, and distribution of flavored vaping products, but it does not prohibit possession, according to theBurlington County Times.3RELATED VIDEO