Tobacco

New Jersey Bans Menthol in E-Cigarettes

New law goes beyond FDA guidance to prohibit flavors in vape pens, e-liquids
Photograph: Shutterstock

TRENTON, N.J. New Jersey has banned all flavored vaping products, including menthol, mint and wintergreen, with Gov. Phil Murphy signing a bill that goes beyond the recently released final guidance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on flavored e-cigarettes.

Signed Jan. 21, the New Jersey rule will go into effect in April and will prohibit all flavors in vaping products such as e-cigarettes, vaping cartridges, e-liquids, e-cigars, vape pens and electronic hookahs, according to the amended version of the measure. The FDA’s final guidance, released Jan. 2, prohibits flavors only in closed vaping-system cartridges, or pods, and exempts e-liquids and so-called disposable e-cigarettes. The federal guidance also exempts tobacco and menthol flavors.

Violators of the New Jersey law will face fines starting at $500 for the first offense, $1,000 for the second and $2,000 for the third, according to the measure.

The state legislature passed the bill based on a recommendation from Murphy’s Electronic Smoking Device Task Force, which he created through an executive order to formulate a strategy on public health and electronic cigarettes.

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

Primary sponsors of the legislation include Sens. Shirley Turner (D-District 15), Richard Codey (D-District 27) and Joseph Vitale (D-District 19) and Assembly members Herb Conaway (D-District 7), Carol Murphy (D-District 7) and Valerie Huttle (D-District 37).

“The rapid increase in vaping’s popularity among middle and high schoolers is deeply troubling, especially given their lack of understanding as to what it is they are putting into their bodies,” Turner said. “By banning flavored vaping products, this law will help to discourage our youth from taking up this dangerous habit and reduce its prevalence in our homes and schools.”

New Jersey is one of several states to have taken action against flavored vaping products in recent months. Other states include Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Utah and Washington.

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