Democratic lawmakers are attempting to ban all flavored vaping products in New Jersey, claiming they lure children to smoking and harm public health.
The state Assembly’s health committee approved the legislation Monday, but it will still need to pass through both houses of the state legislature before becoming law. The law would only allow for tobacco, menthol and clove flavors to be sold for vaping products. Democratic Assemblyman Herb Conaway, a co-sponsor on the bill, claims vaping companies deliberately sell flavors that appeal to kids in order to hook them on nicotine early. Critics are ripping into Conaway for what they argue is an attempt to crush the vaping industry in the state, reports NJ.com.
The legal purchasing age for e-cigarettes and tobacco products in New Jersey is 19, but officials fear kids will get their hands on the products anyway. They also fear e-cigarettes are a gateway to smoking, despite research to the contrary. (RELATED: E-Cig Alarmists Are Ignoring How Helpful The Devices Are To Quit Smoking)
“There is no evidence that the availability of some flavors prompt children to try e-cigarettes,” Dr. Edward Anselm, a senior fellow of the R Street Institute, told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “Those who are curious about the nicotine will try it. E-cigarettes are certainly safer than combusted cigarettes.”
Critics of the proposed ban note the flavors are very popular with adults and offer smokers a viable way to reduce health risks to themselves and those around them. Major health groups in England, like the Royal College of Physicians, agree that using e-cigarettes eliminates most of the harms attributed to smoking. They also recommend vaping to patients trying to quit traditional tobacco products.
Vaping eliminates up to 95 percent of the risk associated with cigarettes because the majority of cancer-causing chemicals are inhaled through smoke.
“Many adults seem to like kids flavor,” Anselm told TheDCNF. “Studies of regular vapers show that they change flavor several times a day because vaping requires more puffs than smoking. Vaping delivers less nicotine and thus requires more puffs.”
Researchers from University College London, Roswell Park Cancer Institute in New York and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) all participated in a landmark study refuting assertions from the surgeon general and CDC claiming vaping is harmful to health and a potential gateway to smoking addiction.
The study, published in February in the Annals of Internal Medicine, shows a large reduction in the levels of toxic chemicals and carcinogens linked to smoking-related illnesses in those who switched to vaping devices for at least six months.
The CDC released a report Dec. 8 condemning vaping as an unhealthy practice and warned vaping poses a significant risk to youth. Localities across the U.S. are implementing regulations treating vaping the same way as traditional cigarettes, with some measures slapping the industry with taxes as high as 40 percent.
The Allegheny County Council in Pennsylvania is expected to vote Tuesday on a complete ban on all vaping products in any school, workplace, sports stadium, government building, bus, cab or any other public indoor space. The new law would essentially relegate use of e-cigarettes to areas where traditional smoking is allowed.
Despite the recent rhetoric against vaping, medical professionals are still advising smokers to give the devices a try. A survey published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health last year found 57.8 percent of practicing physicians recommend e-cigarettes to smokers trying to quit.
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