Assembly Health Committee Approves Legislation to Tackle Underage Smoking and Vaping

The Assembly Health Committee approved a trio of bills earlier this week that seek to combat the rising usage of tobacco and vaping products, particularly among young people. The legislation would increase penalties for prohibited sales, require inspections for retailers, and create guidelines for schools to create public awareness campaigns about the dangers of smoking and vaping.

“It’s well documented that smoking and vaping can cause devastating and irrevocable damage,” said Assemblyman Herb Conaway, Chair of the Assembly Health Committee (D-Burlington). “Far too many of our youth use tobacco and vaping products and that, quite simply, has to stop. The bills we advanced today are all designed to aid us in our fight to curb underage usage of these products.”

  • Bill A3992, sponsored by Assemblyman Michael Venezia, Assemblyman Conaway, and Assemblywoman Tennille McCoy, would increase penalties for certain prohibited sales of tobacco and vapor products.
  • Bill A2388, sponsored by Assemblyman William Spearman and Assemblyman Conaway, would require more frequent inspections of cigarette and vapor product dealers.
  • Bill A2029, sponsored by Assemblywomen Shanique Speight, Assemblyman Conaway, and Assemblywoman Verlina Reynolds-Jackson, would direct the New Jersey Departments of Education (NJDOE) and Health (NJDOH) to develop guidelines for school districts and institutions of higher education concerning student vaping awareness campaigns.

A3992 would expand the definition of “tobacco product” to include any product containing, made of, or derived from tobacco or nicotine and affiliated accessories. This includes vapor products, snuff, hookahs, filters, rolling papers, and similar items. The bill would also increase the penalty for retailers selling “tobacco products” to anyone under the age of 21 – up to $750 for the first offense, up to $1,500 for the second offense and up to $3,000 for subsequent offenses.

A2388 would allow county or municipal law enforcement, under the direction of the Attorney General or Commissioner of the NJDOH, to conduct a minimum of two annual inspections of retailers, serve and execute summons for violations, and forfeit vapor products found in violation. Retailers in violation would receive a three-month follow-up.

A2029 would assist school districts, colleges, and universities in communicating with students about the risks of vaping by instructing the NJDOE and NJDOH to create guidelines for on-campus, anti-vaping campaigns. The campaigns would be multi-tiered, offering decision-making tools and age-specific marketing materials, with information about the consequences of vaping on physical and mental health, pregnancy, workplace environments, and exposure to young children.

 

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