Big Tobacco wins again: NJ flavor ban rejects menthol cigarettes in favor of flavored vapes

As expected, the New Jersey state congress gave its approval on Monday to ban most flavors of vapor products other than nicotine.  The legislative proposal also attempts to limit the amount of nicotine in vaping e-liquids to two percent, increase the licensing fees of retailers, and implement harsher fines for those selling illegal products or engaging in underage sales.

State lawmakers voted overwhelming for the approval of State Bill S3265 with voting margins in the senate of 22-15 and in the state assembly 53-11. All that stands in the way of a full-blown statewide flavor ban is a signature from Democratic Governor Phil Murphy.  Should he decide to do so, which looks likely, the ban will become official within 90-days of his signature.    

NJ flavor ban different from Trump’s

The New Jersey flavor ban differs from the federal ban enacted by the Trump Administration over the 2019 holiday break.  Unlike the Trump ban which prohibits the sales of flavored pod-style, cig-a-like, and closed-system devices, the New Jersey bill also bans the sales of flavored e-liquids used in open-tank alternatives.   

Related Article:   Did a New York Supreme Court Justice just block Gov. Cuomo’s vape ban?

The potential negative impacts to New Jersey businesses and vape shops will be significant and possibly catastrophic.  Despite the best efforts of the statewide vaping community and e-cig advocacy groups like the Vapor technology Association (VTA), vapers in New Jersey are encouraged to flood Governor Murphy’s office with urgent pleas to stop the flavor ban by demanding that Murphy refuse to sign the bill.

Interested parties can contact the Murphy Administration via email message through the state government’s website at NJ.gov/governor/contact.   The phone number for the governor’s office is 1-609-292-6000, and the governor also has his own Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram accounts.

Big Tobacco wins again: NJ flavor ban targets vaping but ignores menthol cigarettes

The original version of the bill included a ban on menthol cigarettes.  However, Senate President Stephen Sweeney removed that provision at the last minute.  According to the state’s website NJ.com, Sweeney removed it temporarily with a plan to consider additional legislation banning menthol tobacco products later this year.

We separated it so we could at least move something now,” Sweeney said. “Would I have like to have gotten more done now? Yes.”  He then added, “Sometimes, you’ve got to throw 20-yard passes until you get into the end zone.”   Once again, Big Tobacco is seemingly dancing in the in-zone.

Related Article:   VCU professor wrongly claims smoking may be SAFER than vaping; Siegel blasts back

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