Lawmakers approved on Monday a bill that would ban the sale and distribution of flavored electronic smoking devices and related products. The bill passed in both the Senate and State Assembly, and now heads to Governor Phil Murphy to either sign or veto.
This bill prohibits the sale, offer for sale, and distribution of electronic smoking devices and related products that have a “characterizing flavor.”
As used in the substitute, “characterizing flavor” means the electronic smoking device or related product, or any smoke or vapor emanating from that device or product, imparts a distinguishable flavor, taste, or aroma prior to or during consumption, including, but not limited to, any fruit, chocolate, vanilla, honey, candy, cocoa, dessert, alcoholic beverage, herb, or spice flavoring; or the electronic smoking device or related product is advertised or marketed as having or producing any such flavor, taste, or aroma.
Concernig the devices used for this practice, the bill specifies that “Electronic smoking device” means an electronic device that can 46 be used to deliver nicotine or other substances to the person 47 inhaling from the device, including, but not limited to, an electronic 48 cigarette, cigar, cigarillo, hookah, or pipe.
The Senate passed the bill by a vote of 22-15 and the Assembly approved the bill 53-11, with eight assembly members abstaining.
To violate the prohibition implies a minimum fine of $250 for a first offence, $500 for a second offense and $1,000 for each subsequent offense.
American Lung Association National Assistant Vice President, State Public Policy, Michael Seilback expressed his enthusiasm about the bill for its implications on health improvement.
“Today’s vote is an important step forward and we applaud Assembly member Conaway and Senator Vitale for their efforts to protect public health. With the federal government failing in efforts to remove flavored tobacco products from the market, it is imperative for states to act. Recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that, nationwide, more than one in four high school students are using e-cigarettes, and multiple studies report that flavors are driving youth addiction,” he said.
However, Seilback considers that flavored tobacco legislation requires more solid resolutions. “If we are to end the vaping epidemic once and for all, then today’s action is not enough: we must remove all flavored tobacco products from the market. We urge Governor Murphy to work with legislative leaders to pass comprehensive flavored tobacco legislation this year,” he declared.
A work group created by Murphy last year recommended a ban on flavored vaping products. They presented their findings and recommendations at a press conference in October two days after the state’s first vaping-related death was reported, and Murphy agreed with their recommendations.
The law would go into effect 90 days after being signed by the governor.