New Jersey Set To Ban Flavored Vaping Fluid, Protecting Kids From Something They Can't Buy Anyway

If you want to vape, it has to taste terrible and cost full price.


David Bro/ZUMA Press/Newscom

Lawmakers in New Jersey are moving to ban the sale of flavored vaping products, in an effort to stop children from being interested in a product that they are not allowed to buy in the first place.

The state already has a ban on flavored tobacco products, with only clove, menthol, and tobacco flavors allowed, and a bill advancing through the state legislature would extend that ban to electronic cigarettes too. The bill advanced out of the the Assembly's health committee on Monday.

Its for the kids, state Del. Herb Conaway (D-Burlington), tells NJ.com.

"The appeal of electronic smoking devices is just as bad, if not worse, because the products are available in almost every candy-like flavor imaginable," Conaway said. "From a public health perspective, it makes sense to extend the ban on flavored tobacco products to electronic smoking devices, as well."

Sure, but here's the thing: it's already illegal for anyone under the age of 19 (only a gubernatorial veto prevented it from being 21) to buy cigarettes or e-cigarettes in the state of New Jersey. Kids aren't buying flavored vaping fluid for their e-cigs, but adults who want to vape something that doesn't taste awful might be interested in doing exactly that.

No matter, because the mere existence of flavored e-cigarette options on the market is apparently enough to lure children into smoking—just like how the existence of cherry-flavored beer is luring children into being alcoholics, natch.

Then there's the question of whether states should be making e-cigarettes less desirable. They're safer than traditional, combustible cigarettes because they contain no tobacco and don't require burning—thus they don't fill a user's lungs with tar and soot—while still giving a jolt of nicotine. If we want to shape public policy to steer people away from dangerous health choices like smoking, then it makes sense to make e-cigarettes seem like a more attractive option, even if that includes using "almost every candy-like flavor imaginable" as a marketing tool.

But what about the children? Despite what Conaway—and others, including the Center for Disease Control—might say, there is little evidence that vaping is a gateway to smoking, whether among teenagers or within the general public. Smoking rates have fallen to all-time lows, even as vaping rates have increased. If using an e-cigarette was a gateway to smoking a traditional cigarette, you'd expect to see a corresponding uptick in smoking along with vaping.

As Reason's Jacob Sullum has noted, data from the 2014 National Youth Tobacco Survey, biostatistician Hongying Dai and economist Jianqiang Hao found that nonsmokers who had used an e-cigarette in the previous month were less likely than other nonsmokers to rule out trying tobacco cigarettes in the future.

That is not terribly surprising, says Sullum, since just 3 percent of teenagers who had never smoked reported past-month e-cigarette use. That a small minority is apt to differ from the remaining 97 percent in traits, such as rebelliousness, risk aversion, and sensation seeking, that might affect the propensity to experiment with smoking.

Those facts apparently aren't welcome in Trenton, where the narrative of teens using e-cigarettes is rolling along. To stop those kids from breaking one law, more laws are needed.

And while they were at it, NJ.com reports, the same state legislative committee voted Monday to make it illegal to use coupons to buy vaping products or for stores to offer promotional deals on e-cigarettes.

Because if you're going to force people to use flavorless e-cigarettes, I guess you might as well make sure they're paying full price too.

Conaway claimed the second bill also is about protecting the children. Despite the fact that anyone under 19 is prevented from buying tobacco or vaping products—even if they have a coupon, can you believe—she says kids "are still being exposed to promotional offers."

"Banning discounts and promotions can help eliminate their curiosity and susceptibility to trying nicotine products," she told NJ.com.

Yep, because there's nothing that really gets the youths fired up like a good coupon.

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    1. Seems like would be easier to ban everything and unban only those things the states deems necessary like taxes.

    2. Double secret ban it! For the CHILDREN!

    3. Double secret ban it! For the CHILDREN!

      1. The squirrels see what you did there.

        1. Squirrel House toga party?

    4. triple-dog ban it.

      Schwartz created a slight breach of etiquette by skipping the triple dare and going right for the throat!

      /inner monologue

  1. The most popular flavor of vape fluid in NJ is “Chris Christie’s Boob Sweat”.

    1. Oddly, it tastes exactly like nutmeg.

    2. I figured they would at least allow Christie’s Testicles as a legal choice.

  2. Half-Virtue, Half-Vice|2.24.17 @ 9:12PM|#

    This is the one issue compared to all others where I think it is appropriate to say:


    Of all the issues that people fear-monger on, fatal vehicular accidents has the body count to merit intervention. You want to drive your trunk, feel the wheel and your tires on the road — fuck you, I don’t care. Because you find pleasure in an action is not a justification for doing said act.

    The day driverless cars are 99.9% safe is the day that fighting against it will mean fighting against the no-harm principle of liberty. Today with no alternatives we ought to have the right to drive vehicles; in the future when such driverless cars exist — it would be nothing less than reckless endangerment for you to stubbornly use your old car.

    1. +1 gleaming red Barchetta from a better vanished time

  3. For the last goddamn time (but probably not) vaping is not a ‘smoking device’ you addle-brained sack of assholes. Just like it is not a ‘tobacco product.’ Cyanide is not a fucking almond product and nicotine-liquid is not a tobacco product. Fuck you. In every hole, with all the dicks.

    1. Was listening to a presentation by the MI Department of Health the other day on the dangers of vaping. They even cited an incident where some guy was using one, got in a auto accident, and it pierced his throat. Any another time when someone threw one out the window and somebody ran over it and got a flat tire.

      When I mentioned that some 400,000 people die in the country alone, every year, from tobacco related illness, and the FACT that vaping does not contain the carcinogenic toxins of tobacco and has been deemed far safer than cigarettes, they sort of hemmed and hawed and said all smokers should just call the 1-800 Quit line [sponsored by none other than the Department of Health]. If they don’t they’re “just not ready to quit anyway, and “vaping is dangerous.” I guess because they cause flat tires.

  4. If kids vaping is outlawed, only outlaw kids will be vaping. And then, screw it, might as well be shooting up heroin and knocking over liquor stores. Is that what you want, kids shooting up heroin and knocking over liquor stores? You bastards!

  5. We should change our New Jersey state motto to: “Is it pleasurable? Did someone once misuse it? Then ban it!”

  6. I am SOOOooooo glad I moved out of that hellhole last year. I do still own a house there, though. Any buyers?

  7. This is what happens when you vote democrat

  8. Would you expect anything else from a State that made it illegal to pump your own gas?

    That’s probably for the children too.

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