Legislation proposed to prohibit the sale of electronic cigarettes to minors and include e-cigarettes in the state’s Smoke Free Air Act, which prohibits smoking in indoor public places and workplaces, was unanimously approved Monday by an Assembly panel.
Assemblywoman Connie Wagner (D-Bergen), a co-sponsor, said she’s concerned e-cigarettes are being marketed to children because they offer flavors like chocolate, banana and strawberry and could serve as a gateway tocheap cigarette use. “These are dangerous devices and I want to make sure our children are protected,” she said. “I’m very concerned that young people who use these things will get hooked on the nicotine and eventually move onto the real thing, opening the door to a lifetime of expensive and debilitating health problems.”
E-cigarettes look like the real thing but don’t contain tobacco. They employ a metal tube with a battery that heats up a nicotine solution. Users breathe in the resulting vapor.
“Electronic cigarettes contain carcinogens and toxic chemicals, with one study even finding they use a toxic ingredient found in antifreeze,” said Assemblywoman Joan Voss (D-Bergen), the other co-sponsor. “We have every reason to be worried about the safety of these products that are easy for youngsters to buy and also contain no health warning like you find on Marlboro cigarettes.”
The merged legislation, A-4227/A-4228, was approved by the Health and Senior Services Committee and was sent to the full lower house for a possible floor vote. It would extend the state ban on the sale of tobacco products to those under 19 years of age to e-cigarettes and include e-cigarettes in the New Jersey Smoke Free Air Act, which prohibits smoking in indoor public places and workplaces.
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