NEW JERSEY – Westfield's Board of Health is considering modeling their town's vaping regulations after an ordinance that the Town of Morristown adopted last May. American children are vaping as young as 8 years old. There is a Juuling epidemic as Juul controls over 70 percent of the e-cigarette market. America's youth are showing clear signs of addiction, with many not able to tolerate sitting through a class period without hitting the e-cigarette. According to national data, in one year alone from 2017-2018 the pervasiveness of e-cigarettes increased nearly 80 percent among high school students. Even more shocking, vaping among middle school students increased by over 50 percent in the same period. This is now a health crisis.
It is no surprise that the smoking of e-cigarettes and vaping have become hot button health issues nationally. Westfield and Morristown and surrounding communities are addressing the crisis. The Westfield Board of Health would like to try and address this issue by modeling its ordinance after the specific language contained in the Morristown vaping ordinance.
The language in the Morristown ordinance points out that the surgeon general warns, “such devices pose a significant health risk to youth and young adults.” The Morristown ordinance prohibits that these products are not to be sold to anybody under 21 and it lays out penalties for violators. A person interested in buying must present photo identification at the store as well.
The ordinance states that according to the FDA, electronic smoking use increased 78% among high school children from 2017 to 2018 and 48 percent amongst middle school children. According to the ordinance, only retail electronic smoking device establishments licensed by the Town Division of Health shall sell electronic smoking devices.
Vaping is defined as the inhaling or exhaling of the vapor produced by an e-cigarette.
Some of the most common side effects of vaping are dry mouth, nausea and coughing but it can also have serious implications for the brain and for the lungs partly due to the chemicals including nicotine contained in the e-cigarette. There are many national news stories in recent weeks about teenagers hospitalized due to vaping. Many have permanently damaged their lungs.
It is not allowed for a business that holds a retail food establishment license from the Town Department of Health and a license for sale of motor fuel from the state of New Jersey and/or a liquor license issued by NJ, to sell and/or manufacture electronic smoking devices.
Businesses shall have 60 days to comply with the passage of this chapter, according to the Morristown ordinance. This 60-day turn around time would be different depending on if and when Westfield adopts their version of this ordinance. However, with that being said, in certain circumstances, it sounds as it may still be sellable.
There is a very particular age restriction. For example, if somebody is under 21, that individual can't enter into any portion of a retail electronic smoking device establishment.
SEE EXAMPLE HERE OF ONE TOWN'S ACTION: Read Morristown's Vaping Ordinance Here
There is an exception to this rule, which involves the sale through face-to-face interactions. It stipulates that it is the duty of the establishment to make sure that they check on the individual customer to comply. There is also a chapter that explains the expectations for the posting of age restriction signage for these products.
The penalties for a person selling these products to a person under 21 are a penalty for up to $2,000 and may be subject to a license suspension or revocation. There are several other portions of the ordinance with financial penalty stipulations.
“Those persons or establishments are subject to prosecution,” the ordinance states.
Westfield Regional Department of Health Director Megan Avallone has obtained a copy of Morristown's ordinance that governs how local businesses can sell the products and to whom they can sell them.
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