On Wednesday the Trump administration said they are looking into banning non-tobacco flavored e-cigarette products amid reports of a deadly lung disease linked to vaping.
But one lawmaker wants to take it a step further.
On the same day as the president’s announcement, New Jersey’s highest-ranking lawmaker, Senate President Steve Sweeney D-Gloucester, released his own plan to ban the sale of all electronic smoking devices.
“Vaping is something that we need to stop and get off the market before we addict another generation to a different product,” he told Fox News. “When it came online it was hailed as getting people away from nicotine and smoking and we're just addicting them in a different way.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), federal health officials are investigating more than 380 confirmed cases of pulmonary illness in the U.S., including six deaths, that appear related to vaping and e-cigarette products.
“The projection is that you need a good 15 years of use for e-cigarettes to see the epidemiological changes of disease processes that are going to pop up,” said Dr. Manny Alvarez, a Fox News medical contributor. “But at the end of the day the only thing that the lungs need is pure air. And you are creating a false narrative if you think that e-cigarettes are not going to lead to some pulmonary problems in some people.”
Proponents of vaping argue that lawmakers should focus on the drug dealers who are tampering with cartridges instead of punishing the vape stores that aim to help people quit smoking.
“I'm not saying every store owner is doing something wrong. But the black market products are in the stores, too, not just on a corner," Sweeney said.
The American Vaping Association said it's disappointed in the President’s decision to ban the sale of flavored vaping products.
“A ban will remove life-changing options from the market that have been used by several million American adults to quit smoking.” Gregory Conley, president of the association, said in a statement. “In the history of the United States, prohibition has never worked. It didn’t work with alcohol. It hasn’t worked with marijuana. It won’t work with e-cigarettes.”
Any e-cigarette legislation Sweeney proposes will need to pass the Senate and Assembly and then win approval from Gov. Phil Murphy.
“The governor's formed a task force and within 21 days he's going to come back with recommendations. I've been drafting legislation with members of my house,” Sweeney said. “So we're putting the bill together we have you know what happens if you defy the law. What are the penalties? So the bill’s being drafted and hopefully, within 30 days we're going to have a bill that I can put in my house and pass and hopefully pass in the other house.”
If Sweeney’s vaping bill goes through, it will make New Jersey the first state in the country to ban the sale of all vaping products.
“There's nothing good about vaping. It's dangerous. And when people say ‘well it's got me off the smoking,’ it’s not got you off the smoking, you're vaping. It's just a different way of smoking,” Sweeney said.