Trenton – Senate President Steve Sweeney, Senator Joseph Vitale and Senator Shirley Turner issued the following statements on the Governor’s executive order, which aims to address the health concerns around electronic cigarettes and vaping.
“We want to know more about a widespread public health crisis with severe and tragic consequences,” said Senator Sweeney (D-Gloucester/Salem/Cumberland). “While there are more answers we want to get, there is no doubt that we are experiencing a surge in illnesses and even deaths related to vaping and that most of the victims are young people. We also know that there has been a dramatic increase in the number of teenagers and young adults who are using e-cigarettes and other vaping products. This is a trend fueled by marketing practices that puts our young people at risk.
“This is why I support Senator Turner’s efforts to ban flavored e-cigarettes and Senator Vitale’s work to restrict the availability of these products. And that is why I want to enact a ban that would phase out all electronic smoking devices. I believe we have an immediate responsibility to control, restrict and even ban these products that create a serious risk to the health and safety of their users, especially our youth.”
“The health committee has taken up measures to curb the dangerous effects of vaping, like restricting sales in pharmacies and banning the use of coupons to purchase certain products,” said Senator Vitale (D-Middlesex). “But every day we learn something new and more horrifying about this habit, the devices and the liquids used. We need to closely examine what is happening and take immediate action. We know middle school aged kids are taking up vaping before cigarettes and without further regulation, we are risking the lives of a generation.”
“The lack of regulations in this emerging industry is having catastrophic effects on the health of our nation’s youth. The more we learn about vaping the more urgent this issue becomes,” said Senator Turner (D-Hunterdon/Mercer). “It is important that we think critically about what the next step is and how we can best curtail the dangerous habit of vaping. We have the opportunity to prevent the next generation from becoming addicted but we must act fast.”
The Governor’s Executive Order Number 84 creates a ten-member Electronic Cigarette Task Force, which will identify action items, both executive and legislative, to address the vaping crisis. The task force, chaired by NJ Department of Health Acting Commissioner Persichilli, will be required to issue an initial report of its findings and recommendations within 21 days.