Senate President Stephen Sweeney, D-3rd District, on Tuesday, called on law enforcement at the municipal, county and state levels to crack down on unregulated and open e-cigarettes and vaping products.
“We don’t need a task force to tell us that if we don’t know what is in these products, we shouldn’t allow them on our shelves,” said Sweeney. “Vaping products have been in legal limbo for a decade. They have been unregulated, unapproved and most have not yet submitted an application to the Food and Drug Administration. That means our kids are filling their lungs with unknown substances that we cannot test, verify or authenticate.”
Originally, said Sweeney, e-cigarettes and vaping products were brought to the market without any regulatory process conducted by a federal agency.
On Aug. 8, 2016, the FDA gave the agency’s Center for Tobacco Products (CTP) regulatory authority over all electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS), including e-cigarettes, vapes, e-liquids, e-cigars, e-pipes, and e-hookahs. Since late 2016, the FDA has worked to regulate this rapidly evolving class of new tobacco products, but the policies and procedures for these products are still evolving.
According to Sweeney, in July 2019, a U.S. District Court in Maryland ordered that applications for tobacco products such as e-cigarettes that were on the market as of Aug. 8, 2016, must be submitted to the FDA no later than May 12, 2020.
“We have to step up. We have to protect our children and crackdown on retailers selling any potentially counterfeit products that haven’t applied for FDA approval. And with report after report identifying adulterated products as a source of vaping related deaths, we must remove all ‘open’ products that can be filled and refilled by outside, unknown e-liquids from store shelves. This is about the health and safety of New Jerseyans, particularly our youth,” said Sweeney.
One in five high school students, according to Sweeney, use a vaping product and often they don’t know what they are smoking.
“We cannot responsibly continue to allow these mystery products to be sold in our state. Not to anyone, and especially not to our middle and high schoolers,” Sweeney said.
Data provided by Sweeney reveals that the use of electronic smoking devices among U.S. middle and high school students increased 900 percent from 2011 to 2015 and grew by 78 percent among high school students during the past year alone. A reported 3.6 million young people are currently using e-cigarettes, including one in five high school students and one in 20 middle school students.