Controversial Complete Ban On Flavored Vapor Products Takes Hold
New Jersey Flavor Ban Takes Effect
The United States vaping industry has been decimated by various involuntary quarantine orders, as well as an onslaught of regulations placing a stranglehold on these small businesses. As many vape shops are forced to rebrand, or in worst cases shutter, another devastating regulation against the industry finally goes into effect.
In New Jersey, the controversial Senate Bill 3265 officially went into effect as of Monday, April 20th. The bill is a complete ban on all flavored vapor products, aimed at curbing instances of youth vaping.
New Jersey joins Massachusetts, New York, and Rhode Island in banning the sale of all flavored vapor products. Lawmakers in these states claim the bans help reduce youth access to vapor products, who are allegedly enticed by flavored offerings.
The ban takes effect as vape shops throughout the state are forced to temporarily shutter following a statewide “stay-home” order issued in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, which has forced any business deemed “non-essential” to close while in effect.. Many retailers in the state are worried that they may be forced to permanently shutter, as flavored vapor products can often make up between 80-95% of a vape shop’s sales.
On Monday, April 20th, New Jersey’s controversial complete ban on all flavored vapor products went into effect throughout the state. The law, Senate Bill 3265, sponsored by Senators Richard Codey, Shirley Turner, and Joseph Vitale, goes beyond some state’s respective bans, banning any vapor product “that has a characterizing flavor.” The law was created by lawmakers following the establishment of a vaping task force established by Governor Phil Murphy back in the fall.
In addition to Senate Bill 3265, Governor Murphy also signed an additional law prohibiting the use of coupons and rebates on vapor products but vetoed a bill that would have strengthened penalties against retailers caught selling vapor products to anyone under the age of 21. The governor stated the reason for the veto was that it would have forced an overhaul of the vape shop licensing system, as well as complicate the tax system currently in place.
Vape shops throughout the state are concerned not only for their own businesses but for the future of the state’s vaping industry as a whole. The ban taking effect follows a statewide “stay-home” order that has forced any business deemed “non-essential” to temporarily close as a way to help curb the spread of the coronavirus and protect public health. These small mom-and-pop vape shops are concerned about what the landscape for the industry is going to look like once the order is eased, as they will now be unable to sell the product that made up the vast majority of their sales.
In spite of often repeated and overblown claims of teenage vaping, research from the NYU School of Global Public Health found that a majority of teens don’t actually vape at all. The study, published in the journal Nicotine & Tobacco Research, found that over 85% of teens do not vape at all, and the few that do are not regular users.
Public health scholars and harm reduction experts continue to caution against the dangers of prohibition, for not only public health but the public good as well. A group of respected public health researchers joined together, in an article published in the journal Science, to speak out against prohibitive policies and restrictive regulations targeting vaping. They note there is currently no evidence that vaping is harmful, and that prohibitive policies will likely force smokers back toward tobacco or black market alternatives.
These experts also note vaping’s remarkable efficacy in helping combat the smoking epidemic as a cessation aid and tool. A study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, found that vaping was more effective than other nicotine-replacement therapies in helping adults not only quit smoking but remain tobacco-free.
In addition to being an effective smoking cessation aid, vaping has been repeatedly demonstrated as a reduced harm alternative to tobacco as well. Research from Public Health England and the Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center found that vaping is actually an astonishing 95% and 93% safer than smoking.
As the economy collapses and Senators propose we allow states to declare bankruptcy, legislators should be taking careful stock and doing all they can to help the remaining businesses within their state stay afloat. Regulatory crackdowns amid crises are only going to exacerbate the recession we’re heading into, dwindling the tax base and creating deficits as funds deplete.
Lawmakers should support the vaping industry, which provides a safe and effective smoking cessation device to adult smokers looking to quit. Following concerns of worsened symptoms and outcomes for coronavirus patients, lawmakers should embrace any cessation option they can as a way to reduce the risk of further burdening our exhausted healthcare system.
What are your thoughts regarding New Jersey’s complete ban on flavored vapor products? How do you think this regulation will further impact an industry devastated by the pandemic quarantine? Let us know what you think in the comments below, be sure to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to receive all the latest vaping news!
(Image Credit – Pixabay – https://pixabay.com/images/id-1614223/)