The state Legislature’s top elected official said he might propose a total ban on the sale of vaping products in New Jersey amid indications that the practice has caused a rash of lung-related illnesses including six deaths nationwide.
Senate President Stephen Sweeney, D-3rd District, said in a Sept. 11 statement that he could seek a phased-in prohibition on the sale of e-cigarette products. His proposal differs from a measure a Senate committee approved on Sept 10 that would only limit the sale of vaping products to pharmacies, and not allow businesses to offer coupons or discounts on such products.
“The flavored products are targeted at teenagers and young adults with the intent of luring them into addiction,” Sweeney said. “We should not allow another generation to get addicted to a product that lowers life expectancy and seriously damages their heart and lungs.”
New Jersey has recorded three confirmed vaping-related lung illnesses and another 19 possible cases, according to the Department of Health.
The proposal would need the approval of the state Senate and Assembly, and then Gov. Phil Murphy’s signature. Although his office could not be reached for comment, the governor has suggested that he might support a ban.
Meanwhile, the Health Department is advising residents to cease using vaping products pending the issuance of more data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on the effects of e-cigarettes.
U.S. President Donald Trump, a Republican, said Wednesday that his administration also would consider banning flavored e-cigarettes.
State lawmakers floated a measure forbidding the sale of flavored vaping products – Senate Bill 3265 – which was introduced to the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee in December.
The lower house version – Assembly bill 3178 – was introduced in the Assembly Health and Senior Services Committee in February 2018. But both measures stalled in the state Legislature without any action from lawmakers.