BURLINGTON COUNTY, N.J. (CBS) — New Jersey’s proposed ban on the selling of e-cigarettes prohibits the sale of vaping devices all together. A New Jersey lawmaker tells Eyewitness News that he is going to propose legislation that will temporarily ban vaping until investigators can figure out a way to make vaping safe. But vapor advocates say lawmakers aren’t considering all the facts.
“We have the area where we actually manufacture the liquid,” Maja Flava owner Mimi Egbergs says.
Egbergs is the owner of the Riverside, New Jersey vape shop, and is one of the business owners who may be impacted by a vote that is set to happen on Thursday at the New Jersey Statehouse.
“People are going to vape no matter what they do,” she says.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention is urging people to stop vaping. There are more than 450 severe lung-related illnesses linked to e-cigarettes and so far six people have died nationwide from vaping products that contained THC.
Egbergs tells Eyewitness News that state lawmakers are not actually coming up with a solution to the problem.
“We don’t want to be lumped and classified with JUUL. Right now JUUL has lawsuits left and right. What vapor company do you know that sells open container e-liquid that has a lawsuit? There isn’t one,” Egbergs says.
“We shouldn’t be allowing this to continue as people are dropping dead,” New Jersey Senate President Steve Sweeney says.
Not only are state legislators voting to ban flavored vaping, Sweeney is taking it a step further and proposing a bill to ban vaping all together.
If passed, New Jersey would be the first state in the nation to ban all e-cigarettes.
“It was sold as a product to get you away from smoking. It wasn’t sold as something that was going to kill you,” he says.
But Egbergs argues that vaping is much safer than smoking cigarettes.
Vaping has significantly less chemicals in its e-liquid than a cigarette and the people who have died may have purchased an illegal THC cartridge off the street.
“Sweeney can get away with saying people are dropping dead from smoking vapor. No one has dropped dead from vapor. They drop dead from buying illegal marijuana filled cartamizers on the street that has a specific substance in it that is not approved or safe for people to inhale,” Egbergs added.
The store owner tells us the people who are suffering from the lung-related illnesses are most likely not following the directions on the e-cigarettes and ingesting more than they’re supposed to.
She’s suggesting that lawmakers should focus on the drug dealers who are tampering with THC cartridges instead of punishing the vape stores who are actually trying to help people quit smoking cigarettes.