Owners of stores selling electronic cigarettes in New Jersey say legislation that would ban flavored liquid in those vaping devices could put them out of business.
Adrian Wilson, who sells e-cigarettes in Somerville, said a state law prohibiting the sweet and fruity flavors would hurt his sales.
“It’s going to deter customers from coming into the store,” Wilson said. “A lot of the customers do take advantage of the multi flavors, and I think it’s going to limit our customer base going down to the menthol, the clove, and the tobacco flavor.”
Sheryl Agro, who owns a store in Wrightstown that sells those products, told lawmakers that she used a strawberry cheesecake-flavored liquid in electronic cigarettes to kick her 24-year smoking habit.
“Nobody quits smoking with tobacco flavors predominately,” Agro said. “When they want to quit, they want to stay as far away from tobacco flavors as possible.”
But Senate Health Committee chairman Joe Vitale wasn’t buying that argument.
“Maybe for some people that’s true,” he conceded. “I’ve talked to others who said it just made it more convenient, more flavorful, but [they were] committed to quitting.”
What’s more, said Vitale, D-Middlesex, the flavored juices in e-cigarettes entice young people who might not otherwise try tobacco products. The e-cigarettes allow users to inhale aerosol laced with nicotine.
“So now we’re addicting a new generation of young people, and many of those products are untested,” he said. “They’re made in basements and backrooms sometimes. We don’t know the makeup of those ingredients.”
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration this month announced new rules that extend federal authority to the sale and manufacture of e-cigarettes. The largely unregulated nicotine delivery devices have spawned a multibillion-dollar industry with mostly unknown risks to consumers.
The new rules will affect 9 million Americans who vape.