WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP, N.J. (CBS) — It’s now up to Gov. Phil Murphy if New Jersey will outlaw flavored e-cigarettes. Critics of the ban say it’s a bad idea.
If the governor signs the e-cigarette flavor ban, owners of vape shops like Juicy Puff in Washington Township say they’re essentially out of business.
For Kevin Shah, a ban on flavored e-cigarette products in New Jersey means unemployment, not only for him and his son, Chirag, that run the family business but for the other eight employees that work in their three stores.
“And we are to suddenly close, so how are we going to do this? It is crazy. It is just overnight putting me like I’m a criminal and put me out of business,” Shah said.
If Murphy signs the measure New Jersey lawmakers passed on Monday to ban the sale of flavored e-cigarette products, it will essentially put more than 250 vape shops in the Garden State out of business.
Some might see that as a good thing.
While e-cigarettes do help many people quit smoking tobacco, health experts warn some products target teens and are ushering in a new generation of people addicted to nicotine.
“Right now we are seeing an epidemic of youth e-cigarette use and we know that flavors hook kids,” said Michael Seilback, with the American Lung Association.
But the Shahs believe lawmakers rushed to judgment on the dangers of vaping when reports surfaced last year about vaping-related deaths and illnesses.
They point out chemicals related to illegal THC-infused vaping pods were found to cause some of the deaths.
They wish lawmakers would have investigated more before legislating so broadly and leaving them with hundreds of thousands of dollars in soon-to-be-illegal inventory.
“It’s crazy because now everybody who started vaping and stopped smoking cigarettes will go back to smoking cigarettes now,” Chirag Shah said.
While Murphy has made it clear that he wants restrictions on the vaping industry, some vape shop owners are hopeful they’ll be able to stay alive with strict rules.