NEW JERSEY – Governor Phil Murphy signed legislation this week to make New Jersey the first state in the nation to impose a permanent ban on flavored vape products. The legislation (S3265) prohibits the sale and distribution of flavored vape products, including menthol.

According to the press release submitted by the Governor’s office, the Legislature passed the bill based on a recommendation from Governor Murphy’s Electric Smoking Device Task Force. The task force was directed to formulate a comprehensive strategy to protect New Jerseyans from the hazards of electronic cigarettes.

“As Governor, I am first and foremost charged with protecting the health and safety of our people,” said Governor Murphy. “Research shows that flavored electronic smoking devices and products, such as mint, candy, fruit, and chocolate, are extremely appealing, especially to children.”

Sign Up for Wayne Newsletter
Our newsletter delivers the local news that you can trust.

The FDA instated their own ban of fruity or minty flavored cartridge-based e-cigarettes at the beginning of this year but left some loopholes that Governor Murphy's ban will close. The FDA's new legislation would ban the sale of all e-cigarette refill pods except those formulated to taste like tobacco or menthol but would leave open-tank vaping devices that allow people to custom mix their own flavors.  The New Jersey law would close this loophole.

“It hurts a lot, to be honest,” said Sam Desai, the manager of the T-Bowl Smoke Shop on Hamburg Turnpike in Wayne. Flavored liquids are close to 90% of their business. 

Asked if this law is really going to protect New Jerseyans as Governor Murphy stated, Desai said: “No. Everybody is just going to upstate New York or Pennsylvania and bring it back for friends and family.” 

“I’ve done a lot of research on this and they don’t know what they’re doing,” said Desai. “It’s not clear if Menthol is part of the ban or not or if this only applies to flavored nicotine products. The law is unclear.  We really don’t know anything yet.”

T-Bowl Smoke Shop and other establishments that sell flavored vape liquids have until February 6th for the FDA ban and they have ninety days to empty their shelves of flavored liquids for the New Jersey ban, according to Desai.  Though the wording on the New Jersey law says that the ban takes affect immediately.

The CDC has identified the problems associated with vaping and use-associated lung injuries. Their conclusions focus on Vitamin E acetate as an additive, primarily found in THC-containing e-cigarettes and not in regular nicotine e-pens.

Meanwhile, state legislators who signed the bill banning flavored vapes focused on the potential hazards of nicotine. “The nicotine in e-cigarettes is just as harmful as that of traditional cigarettes, yet many people may not realize just how detrimental nicotine really is for anyone under the age of 25,” said Assemblywoman Carol Murphy.

Desai disagrees arguing that vapes don’t contain “cancer-causing tar” or “poison” that traditional cigarettes contain and thus the federal and state ban on flavored vape products could turn people back to cigarette smokers which is worse for them.

While Johns Hopkins agrees that vaping can be safer than smoking, it considers other issues with its use. Notably, electronic cigarettes haven’t been approved as smoking cessation devices.

---

This is wording of NJ State Law S3265:

An Act concerning electronic smoking devices and supplementing Title 2A of the New Jersey Statutes.

     Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

     1.    a.  No person, either directly or indirectly by an agent or employee, or by a vending machine owned by the person or located in the person's establishment, shall sell, offer for sale, distribute for commercial purpose at no cost or minimal cost or with coupons or rebate offers, give or furnish, to a person any electronic smoking device or any cartridge or other component of the device or other related product, including liquid nicotine, that has a characterizing flavor.

     b.    A person who violates the provisions of subsection a. of this section shall be liable to a civil penalty of not less than $250 for the first violation, not less than $500 for the second violation, and $1,000 for the third and each subsequent violation.  The civil penalty shall be collected pursuant to the "Penalty Enforcement Law of 1999," P.L.1999, c.274 (C.2A:58-10 et seq.), in a summary proceeding before the municipal court having jurisdiction.  An official authorized by statute or ordinance to enforce the State or local health codes or a law enforcement officer having enforcement authority in that municipality shall issue a summons for a violation of the provisions of subsection a. of this section, and shall serve and execute all process with respect to the enforcement of this section consistent with the Rules of Court.  A penalty recovered under the provisions of this subsection shall be recovered by and in the name of the State by the local health agency.  The penalty shall be paid into the treasury of the municipality in which the violation occurred for the general uses of the municipality.

     c.     As used in this section:

     "Characterizing flavor" means a distinguishable flavor, taste, or aroma, including, but not limited to, any fruit, chocolate, vanilla, honey, candy, cocoa, dessert, alcoholic beverage, herb, or spice flavoring, that is imparted, prior to or during consumption, by an electronic smoking device or any cartridge or other component of the device or other related product, including liquid nicotine, or any smoke or vapor emanating from that device or product.  An electronic smoking device or any cartridge or other component of the device or other related product, including liquid nicotine, shall be deemed to have a characterizing flavor if the device, cartridge, component, or related product is advertised or marketed as having or producing any such distinguishable flavor, taste, or aroma.

     "Electronic smoking device" means an electronic device that can be used to deliver nicotine or other substances to the person inhaling from the device, including, but not limited to, an electronic cigarette, cigar, cigarillo, hookah, or pipe.

     "Liquid nicotine" means any solution containing nicotine which is designed or sold for use with an electronic smoking device.

 

     2.    This act shall take effect immediately.

 

STATEMENT

     This bill prohibits the sale, offer for sale, and distribution of electronic smoking devices and related products that have a “characterizing flavor.” As used in the substitute, “characterizing flavor” means the electronic smoking device or related product, or any smoke or vapor emanating from that device or product, imparts a distinguishable flavor, taste, or aroma prior to or during consumption, including, but not limited to, any fruit, chocolate, vanilla, honey, candy, cocoa, dessert, alcoholic beverage, herb, or spice flavoring; or the electronic smoking device or related product is advertised or marketed as having or producing any such flavor, taste, or aroma.

     “Electronic smoking device” is defined to include any electronic device that can be used to deliver nicotine or other substances to the person inhaling from the device, including, but not limited to, an electronic cigarette, cigar, cigarillo, hookah, or pipe. The prohibition established under the substitute extends to any cartridge or other component of the device or other related product, including liquid nicotine, which is defined to mean any solution containing nicotine that is designed or sold for use with an electronic smoking device.

     A person who violates the prohibition established under the substitute bill will be liable for a civil penalty of not less than $250 for the first violation, not less than $500 for the second violation, and $1,000 for the third and each subsequent violation, to be collected in a summary proceeding before the municipal court having jurisdiction. An official authorized by statute or ordinance to enforce the State or local health codes or a law enforcement officer having enforcement authority in that municipality will be required to issue a summons for a violation and serve and execute all process consistent with the Rules of Court. Penalties will be recovered by and in the name of the State by the local health agency, and will be paid into the treasury of the municipality in which the violation occurred for the general uses of the municipality