FANWOOD, NJ – Megan Avallone, Director of the Westfield Regional Health Department, presented an overview of New Jersey’s new vaping law, along with insights into her department’s efforts to curtail use of vaping products locally among young people at the Tuesday, Jan. 21, Fanwood Council meeting.
Governor Phil Murphy signed legislation this week that bans the sale of flavored vaping products in New Jersey. The law will go into effect in April. Murphy supported the law because more is becoming known about the dangers of vaping and because young people are particularly attracted to flavored products.
“Vaping… is a statewide health crisis, hitting home with young people in 6th, 7th, 8th, and 9th grade,” said Mayor Colleen Mahr. “There is a proposal coming out of our Board of Health, an autonomous agency that has the ability to create and pass ordinances that fall under our jurisdiction.”
Avallone told Mayor Mahr and the Fanwood Council that vaping products are an ongoing concern.
“Every year we do a tobacco age enforcement check. This ordinance is designed to make sure vaping products don’t get into the hands of the very young,” Avallone said. “Flavored pods currently have the same amount of nicotine as an entire package of cigarettes. “They (youths) don’t know how much nicotine they are getting and don’t even know it’s a nicotine product.”
The local ordinance proposed by the Westfield Regional Health Department would ban the sale of vaping products at liquor stores, convenience stores, gas stations, and other businesses.
“They can sell at places that only sell these nicotine products,” said Avallone, adding that signs muse be posted that say that the products will only be sold to those over age 21. “IDs will be checked immediately upon entry. The stores cannot open within 500 feet of a public park or school.”
Although laws are currently in place, it can be easy for someone under 21 to get vaping products.
“Sometimes cashiers are young, and they are very busy. Unfortunately, IDs are not checked every time. The Board feels that this is in the best interest of public health,” Avallone said.
The idea, Avallone explained, is for all the eight communities under the jurisdiction of the Westfield Regional Health Department to have the same regulation. The topic will be discussed at the next public meeting of the Board of Health, which will take place on March 5.
Fanwood currently does not have a smoke shop. The proposed Board of Health regulation would impact the four locations that currently sell vaping products.
“Those four would no longer be able to sell,” said Avallone, adding that the Board of Health will notify the establishments in advance and give them a chance to attend the public hearing.
To view the entire Fanwood Council meeting of January 21, 2020, click here: