Lawmakers are set to consider a trio of bills Nov. 14, that would curtail the sale and use of vaping and e-cigarette products in the state, following more than 2,000 cases of vaping-related illness nationwide, and 39 deaths spanning 24 states.
The measures come as the Trump administration has promised to crack down on the types of vaping products that would be available in the market, with an eye on banning flavored e-cigarettes.
Vaping exploded in popularity in recent years, especially among teenagers in high school. With the products initially hailed as a means to help wean cigarette-users off their nicotine addictions.
Many of the proposals come directly from recommendations made by a task force Gov. Phil Murphy convened to gauge how to clamp down on vaping.
All three bills scheduled for the Thursday morning vote at the Assembly Health and Senior Services Committee are sponsored by Assemblyman Herb Conoway, D-7th District, who chairs that committee.
One measure, Assembly Bill 3178, would outlaw the sale and distribution in the state of any flavored e-cigarette products.
“The flavors that are placed into these vaping products… are designed precisely to hook a generation of young people on nicotine,” Conoway said at the task force press conference on Oct. 3.
Another measure, Assembly Bill 5923, would require licensure for any business to sell electronic smoking devices and liquid nicotine. The measure also raises the taxes on liquid nicotine cartridges from $0.10 to $0.20 per fluid millimeter, and the rate on non-cartridge vaping liquid from 10 to 20 percent.
State officials also propose to create a database to track the sale of all vaping products in the state. The measure requires the state to create a standardized tracking feature for any vaping products, such as a bar code. Starting 60 days after the state develops those features, manufacturers would be required to include it in all their products sold within the state.
The state health department would roll out new compliance rules, inspections and undercover purchases by authorities posing as would-be underage buyers.
Another measure, Assembly Bill 5922, increases the penalties to retailers who are caught selling tobacco and vaping products to anyone below 21 and doubles the fines those businesses must pay.
Under the measure, a buyer under the age of 21 could be charged with a disorderly person offense, as opposed to current law which only charges the retailer.
Retailers would have to limit how easily a patron could physically access and view vaping products, by placing them in parts of the shops such as a locked cabinet or in a restricted, employee-only area.
Any vaping products sold would have to be registered with the Food and Drug Administration, a measure meant to prevent the sale of backroom-concocted products, which state and public health officials warn could be infused with unknown, dangerous substances.
Vaping liquids could not contain more than a 2 percent concentration of nicotine, nor could they be mixed with any other products the manufacturer produces.
Businesses could not sell any vaping products not registered with the state’s new database, under A5922.
They would also be barred from selling any e-cigarette devices designed to mimic the appearance of other objects such as cellphones, jewelry, eating utensils and hygiene products, another increasingly commonplace practice among manufacturers.