While the rest of the country is trying to deal with the newly announced FDA e-cig regulations, the New Jersey vaping community is facing a more urgent crisis. On Monday, May 16, the state legislature’s Health Committee voted to pass a controversial bill that would prevent all retailers from selling e-liquids other than tobacco, clove, and menthol flavors.
Hundreds of vapers in all shapes and sizes took to the streets of Trenton yesterday, carrying signs, chanting in union, and of course, blowing huge clouds of vapor while marching up and down the pavement in front of New Jersey State House. The phrase, “We Vape. We Vote. Say “NO” to Bill S-298,” was plastered on many of the pickets signs and banners.
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And this was not a protest attended by only the die-hard vape heads. While there were many of the stereotypical vapers with long beards, tattoos, and body piercings that tend to make Conservative America a bit squeamish, there were also many soccer moms, college students, and people dressed in office attire joining in the hullaballoo.
S-298 was introduced onto the House floor by State Sen. Joseph Vitale (D-Middlesex), the Chairperson of the House Health Committee, almost eight years after New Jersey became the first state to pass a similar ban of flavored e-cigs back in 2008. Strangely, one of the more vocal opponents to the bill seems to be a former staff member of Governor Chis Christie of Tunnelgate fame.
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Kevin Roberts, who now represents Logic Technology, the nation's third-largest supplier of electronic cigarettes, called the measure a "premature move before the science is in" on the product. Meanwhile, local vape shop owner Roshan S. Kumaran of Evapify wonders, "Do we have age restrictions on sweets and deserts even though they can cause diabetes?"
State Sen. Jim Whelan openly acknowledges that vaping is better than smoking while also adding, "But we're looking at high school kids," Whelan added. "I don't think anyone can argue that vaping is good for 13- and 14-year-old kids. What do we do about that?"
It’s a tough argument to beat, but is it true? This is the same argument that is occurring on a national level with the issuing of new FDA e-cig regulations. Are huge numbers of 13-year old kids secretly vaping? And are more teens vaping than smoking? Since the government has never banned tobacco, clove, or menthol flavored traditional cigarettes, why is New Jersey targeting these flavors in the electronic versions? Something just doesn’t add up.
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