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NJ Governor Murphy signs vape ban bill into law

Just hours ago, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed Bill S3265 which officially implements a statewide ban on the manufacturing, distribution, and sales of all flavored vapor products.  The ban will theoretically go into full effect on or around April 20, some 90-days from the date of the governor’s signature.

Only tobacco flavors of e-liquids and closed-systems devices will be exempt.  Even the menthol varieties will be officially prohibited. Although, menthol tobacco cigarettes will still be readily available for purchase in every convenience store across the state.  Yes, Gov. Murphy’s vaping ban leaves Big Tobacco  completely untouched yet again.   

Murphy – a democrat – blames the need for the anti-vaping legislation on a perceived rise in teen vaping.  Retailers who are caught violating the new regulations may face a $500 civil penalty for the first offense, a $1,000 fine for the second, and at least a $2,000 fine for the third. 

Strangely, the law comes with a rather significant loophole.  While sales, distribution, and manufacturing of flavored vapor products will soon become illegal statewide, mere possession of these products will not be.

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

This seemingly contradictory confluence of legislative objectives leaves a substantial crack in the legislative door for which Black Market consumerism can easily charge right through.  This is particularly concerning from a public health stance because the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has already publicly acknowledged that vapor products purchased from “informal sources” is the nation’s biggest problem when it comes to vaping.  The CDC defines informal sources as friends, family members, in-person dealers, and other questionable vendors.

In a press release issued last week, the CDC also confirmed that THC-containing cartridges – not nicotine-based vapes – are responsible for at least 82 percent of all documented EVALI patients nationwide.  The CDC has also updated its public warning about the “vaping related” respiratory disorder to focus almost exclusively on the avoidance of using THC-enhanced cartridges. Governor Murphy’s flavor ban addresses none of these important issues.

Related Article:  CDC issues updated warning: Most lung patients purchased THC vapes from ‘informal sources’

(Image courtesy of Shutterstock)

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