New Jersey Passes Flavor Ban
State Ban Set To Be More Restrictive Than New Federal Policy
As a federal ban on flavored vapor cartridges looms, as well as states and municipalities across the United States implementing various prohibitions of their own, recent times have been tough on the vaping industry. Despite the efforts of industry leaders and vaping advocates, another state has fallen down the path of prohibition.
New Jersey lawmakers approved a bill that would ban the sale of all flavored vapor products. This new legislation is set to not only outlaw the sale of flavored vapor products but limit the nicotine content in them as well.
The New Jersey vaping industry has decried the move, stating that such sweeping prohibition would have immediate economic implications for them, forcing many outlets to shutter. Anti-vaping activists have applauded state lawmakers, saying that flavor bans help keep vapor products away from teens.
The bill is likely to move to Gov. Phil Murphy’s desk, who has expressed support to ban vapor products and is expected to sign it into law. The legislation was passed with a stipulation delaying implementation by 90 days, allowing retailers to sell remaining inventory and petition the state.
Poor Prohibitive Policy
On Monday, New Jersey lawmakers voted to pass a bill prohibiting the sale of flavored vapor products. In addition, the move increased licensing fees and fines for failure to comply, along with limiting the legal nicotine content to 2%. Using noticeably more vague language than comparable bans, the bill is set to prohibit the sale and distribution of electronic smoking devices and accessories with a “distinguishable flavor, taste or aroma.”
Assemblyman Herb Conaway, sponsor of the bill, stated that the move was aimed at protecting minors from accessing nicotine products. “If we can choke off access to these vaping products in kids, we can also prevent the smoking that more than half of them will do as well,” he said.
Gregory Conley, president of the American Vaping Association, has stated that he remains hopeful the industry and regulators will be able to reach a “common-sense solution” before the new ban takes effect. “We’re hopeful that we’ll be able to work out some common-sense solution that keeps these products around for smokers while making it much, much more difficult for youth to misuse them,” Conley told reporters Tuesday.
Conley has previously warned that prohibition may lead to the creation of a new black market if vapers are unable to access their smoking cessation aid in a safe and regulated way. In addition, Conley called the bill’s 2% nicotine content limit “absurd,” noting that cigarettes have far more nicotine in them.
Facts About Vaping
Both harm reduction experts and public health scholars alike have repeatedly warned against the potential dangers of flavor bans, noting they may deter current smokers from quitting and turn former smokers back to cigarettes. Research from Yale University found that flavor bans result in limited options for e-cigarettes while offering an increased choice among cigarettes, which could deter smokers from quitting and turn quitters back into smokers.
Current data indicates vaping may be one of the most effective tools available in aiding smoking cessation. Research conducted by University College London found that vaping helped up to 70,000 British smokers quit in 2017 alone.
Not only is vaping remarkably effective in aiding smoking cessation, but research has established vaping as a reduced-harm alternative to tobacco. In fact, a study from the Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center found vaping was actually 93% safer than smoking.
In addition, research from one of America’s leading academic bodies shows that there is little to no risk of harm from vaping long-term. Research published by the National Academy of Sciences found that vaping is not only less harmful than smoking, but there are no long-term health effects associated with long-term use.
New Jersey’s flavor ban may serve as a death knell for the local industry, who don’t see the industry being able to continue without the sale of flavored vapor products. For retailers, these flavors often make up a vast majority of sales; for vapers, these flavors may have gotten them to try vaping in the first place.
An estimated 2,000 jobs are slated to be lost should the ban take effect, and millions of Jersey vapers throughout the state will only be left with cigarettes or black-market options. Lawmakers are failing to consider the very real economic and public health ramifications by prohibiting something they evidently know nothing about.
The vaping industry and community must stand in solidarity to demonstrate to lawmakers the benefits and promise that vaping holds for millions. Despite a bleak outlook, there is still time to shift public perception and legislative opinion.
What are your thoughts on New Jersey’s flavor ban? What do you think will be the larger implications for the industry and vapers in the state? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below, be sure to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to receive all the latest vaping news!
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