Published on February 28th, 2017 | by Jimmy Hafrey
In a disappointing action by the state of New Jersey, the Assembly advanced a ban that could see the end of vaping in the state.
According to reporting by PIX11, Herb Conway Jr., an Assemblyman who co-sponsored the bill, says that the goal of the ban is to prevent vape products from ending up in the hands of teens and middle school students.
This sentiment is echoed by State Senator Joseph Vitale, who introduced the bill that can be read in full here. He stated last year in an interview with Politico that:
“Big tobacco was marketing to young people and encouraging them to smoke by having cigarettes that are more flavorful. Those tobacco products were banned…Big tobacco is getting into this business because they see their tobacco revenue declining and this is a way they can make up for it.”
He said that vape products are following the same model as Big Tobacco by offering juice and candy flavors. Many critics of vaping see the flavors as an outright marketing scheme aimed at children who don’t know the dangers of tobacco and who could become quickly addicted to the habit.
There is no evidence, however, that vaping in and of itself is addictive; various reports have shown that nicotine is not an addictive substance alone. What makes smoking traditional cigarettes so addictive is the carcinogens and toxins that are found alongside nicotine. Reports on nicotine and it’s addictive properties have been circulating for years now and is perhaps best represented by this article found in Forbes.
Current New Jersey law bans the sale of any tobacco product that is not clove, menthol, or tobacco. However, that law does not cover vaping products, which can have hundreds of flavors and different nicotine levels.
Under the new ban, however, the vape industry in the state would be over; violators caught selling or buying vape products in the state would face an initial fine of $250 and even more stringent punishment for repeat offenses.
The ban, which would see the decimation of the vape industry in the state, hits small businesses the hardest. Hundreds of jobs would be lost in New Jersey, and the state would also take a hit in terms of fiscal consequences; vape products are taxed, and if these products are bought outside of the state and brought it, the state would not be able to benefit from that transaction It also would not stop vapers in the state from buying their products online and having it shipped to them.
Marc Anton, who spoke to Politico last year when this ban was proposed, said he felt as though Vitale was unfair towards vaping and that vape products were not marketed to children.
“Is he saying that children are buying this and is it not being enforced and the police are not looking into it? “ Anton said, referring to Vitale and his assertion that vaping was being marketed to kids. “Why are they banning something many adults enjoy. Do they ban flavored alcohol because it can attract a kid? No different.”
New Jersey state legislators have consistently come out against vaping, often using studies that have been criticized by the health and medical communities and also refusing to accept studies that show that vaping is less harmful than smoking.
Conway himself referred to the U.S. Surgeon General’s office survey of vaping among middle school and high school students as a reason that the ban must be passed into law. That survey wrongly attributed the use of vape product among high school students to be a 900 percent increase; it also touted that flavored vape juices use among young adults far exceeded rates among older adults.
In fact, the U.S. Surgeon General’s report, which we have written about before, is an incomplete overview of vaping among young adults. This publication has stated before the inconsistencies of its results, including the fact that the survey made no distinction between high school students who switched from traditional smoking to vaping, thus reducing the number of students who smoke traditional cigarettes. The study also refused to distinguish how many students tried vaping only once against how many students became regular vapers.
Vaping has already been restricted nation-wide as well, leading many vape activists wondering how far anti-vape advocates are willing to go to stamp out the industry.
In August of 2016, the FDA officially passed deeming regulations on vaping, including restricting the sale of vape products to those who are 18 and over. The regulations also required that vape shops and businesses refrain from marketing to children, including posting signs on shop windows that state only those who are of legal age are permitted to enter the premises. Other safety regulations include child safety bottle caps and ingredient information clearly printed on the bottles.
That doesn’t seem to be enough for New Jersey, however; the state is going forward with plans to ban vaping from the state. The ban also prohibits the use of coupons or offers for vape products, a practice that the vape industry does not indulge in.
This ban will be difficult to enforce; people who vape in the privacy of their own home won’t be targeted by this bill. And, as stated above, vapers will still be able to buy their products online, at least for the time being.
So the question is if this bill is meant to be protecting children, why is it only harming adults who are trying to quit smoking? Studies have shown that the more options an adult have with vape liquids, the more likely they are to stick to vaping, which leads them to quit smoking. This is a question that only the New Jersey Assembly can answer, and one that needs to be answered before the ban becomes law.