TRENTON, NJ  –  In the wake of national incidents of illness and death from vaping, Governor Phil Murphy took action on Thursday to formulate a comprehensive strategy to protect New Jersey residents from the health hazards of electronic cigarettes.   

"The rash of lung disease and death nationwide due to e-cigarette use is deeply alarming," said Murphy. "As state leaders charged with protecting the safety and health of the New Jersey public, we must have a more complete understanding of the risks associated with this all-too-common practice, and the options available to address e-cigarette use. I'm proud to create a task force bringing departments together across government that will immediately get to work to achieve that goal.

"The only safe alternative to smoking is not smoking. I urge New Jerseyans to follow the recommendations of the CDC and our Department of Health to discontinue the use of all electronic cigarettes and vaping products," Murphy continued.

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Assemblyman Daniel Benson (D-Hamilton), who serves on the Assembly Health and Senior Services Committee applauded the Governor’s action.   

"We have all seen and heard about the outbreak of serious lung illness and even death among teens across our country attributed to certain vaping products,” said Benson.  “Unfortunately, the vaping industry has already been targeting youth to buy and use their products.  Now more than ever, New Jersey needs to take steps to address the risks of e-cigarette use and determine the most effective ways to combat this public health crisis including increased education, awareness, legislative and regulatory changes."

The Governor created the Electronic Smoking Device Task Force that consider options to address electronic cigarette use including: providing warning signs to be posted in stores that sell electronic smoking devices; expanding the State's ability to investigate, track, and monitor any cases of severe pulmonary disease; recommending legislative and regulatory changes needed to protect young people from electronic cigarettes; developing a statewide public awareness campaign on the risks of electronic cigarette use; reviewing and providing feedback on current efforts to address the dangers of electronic cigarette use and considering methods for expansion of those efforts; cooperating with local, state, federal, and private or non-profit entities while the multi-state investigation continues; and adopting similar policies with respect to traditional cigarettes.

"Use of electronic smoking devices has skyrocketed among our youth and the incidence of serious lung complications is increasing at a rapid rate—which is cause for concern. People should stop vaping until the FDA and the CDC determine the cause of these illnesses," said Acting Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli.  “The Governor's task force will convene quickly and come up with recommendations to protect the health of the residents of New Jersey—particularly our youth.”

The 10-member task force, chaired by the Department of Health Acting Commissioner, is expected to move quickly and submit recommendations within 21 days.

“It is absolutely critical for parents to be aware and vigilant of vaping dangers, just as they are with prescription medications and illegal drugs. The vaping industry has gone stealth, creating tools that mimic flash drives, sharpie markers, lipstick, lighters, and more. This type of marketing certainly raises concerns because they're targeting youth, encouraging deception and putting young lives at-risk," said Christine Norbut Beyer, Commissioner of the Department of Children and Families