Officials declare war on vaping

PUBLIC HEALTH. New Jersey officials this week called for a ban on youth e-cigarette use in the Garden State and nationwide. A proposed bill would ban vape flavors and online sales.

| 24 Sep 2019 | 03:47

On Monday, Sept. 23, 2019, U.S. Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5) announced a multifaceted battle plan as part of his “war on youth vaping” combat the youth vaping and e-cigarette epidemic plaguing the country.

Gottheimer’s battle plan includes:The plan includes introducing bipartisan legislation to ban the sale of e-cigarettes, banning flavors nationwide, requiring vaping detectors in schools, raising tobacco purchase age to 21, and a CDC investigation into recent vaping-related illnesses.

“Plain and simple: we need a war on youth vaping. Today, I’m announcing a comprehensive battle plan, including six concrete steps, to help fight that war on underage vaping – and help put an end to the youth epidemic,” said Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5). “We need to do everything we can to turn the tide."

The FDA released data last week stating that one in four 12th graders said they had vaped in the previous month. Last year, the FDA found that use of e-cigarettes had increased 80% among high schoolers and 50% among middle schoolers.

The CDC has reported 530 current vaping-related lung illnesses, including cases in New Jersey. Of these mysterious vaping lung ailments, 16% of the cases involve those ages 18 or younger. These cases have already resulted in eight deaths.

Joining Gottheimer during his announcement at the Boys & Girls Club in Lodi this week were Lodi Mayor Scott Luna; Assemblyman Christopher Tully (LD-38); Bergen Freeholder Vice Chairwoman Amoroso; Lodi Police Chief Donald Scorzetti; Joe Licata, CEO, and Mike Williams, Board President, of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Lodi & Hackensack; Tina Aue, Director of Prevention Services at the Center for Prevention & Counseling; Samantha Harries of the New Jersey Prevention Network; and Ellen Elias from Children’s Aid; youth advocates Sophia Patel and Keith Furtado; and members of the Lodi Police Department.

"Many of these products come in kid-friendly flavors, making them more appealing to young people and increasing the chance of initiating. Unfortunately, the advertising and marketing tactics were developed in part with the intention to specifically target minors to make them the next generation addicted to nicotine. So, now we need to take the next steps to address the issue," said Tina Aue, Director of Prevention Services, Center for Prevention & Counseling. "The use of these products is particularly harmful to young people because nearly all of them contain nicotine. It is not only highly addictive, but exposure can harm adolescent brain development and may increase their risk for using other tobacco products and harmful substances."

The "war on vaping" battle plan includes:
1) Introducing bipartisan legislation to prohibit online sales of all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes.
2) Banning e-cigarette flavors nationwide.
3) Working with the FDA to require new e-cigarettes include one-way communication technology to “jam” e-cigs from use on school grounds, and, in the meantime, requiring e-cigarette vapor sensors in all schools.
4) Raising the minimum tobacco purchase age to 21.
5) Banning all non-tobacco e-cigarette products, flavored vaping liquids, and counterfeit e-cigarettes throughout New Jersey.
6) Beginning a full CDC investigation into the recent vaping lung illnesses and the broader impact of vaping on youth.