smoking

New Jersey lawmakers are weighing a ban on the sale of tobacco products and e-cigarettes in the state’s more than 2,200 pharmacies.

A proposal floated by Democratic legislators would prohibit the sale of cigarettes and vaping products in pharmacies and any retailers that contain pharmacies, including many grocery stores.

“To have medical services and then sell cigarettes is crazy,” said state Sen. Joe Vitale, D-Middlesex, who is chairman of the Senate’s health committee. “I think it’s not in the public interest — certainly not in the public health interest — to do that.”

New Jersey is eyeing a crackdown on flavored e-cigarettes, which have been associated with a recent string of pulmonary illnesses across the country and are frequently blamed for ensnaring children and young adults into an addictive habit.

During the WBGO's “Ask Governor Murphy” call-in show Wednesday night, a caller asked Gov. Phil Murphy what he thought about Michigan’s ban on flavored e-cigarettes.

“I like that, I have to say. [My] first reaction is it’s something … we should look at,” Murphy said.

Ang Santos / WBGO

New Jersey Congressman Frank Pallone plans to introduce legislation that proposes changes to regulations on tobacco products.

The Reversing the Youth Tobacco Epidemic Act of 2019 would prohibit the sale of flavored tobacco.

“No menthol no flavors, alright.  For everything,” he said.

It would raise the minimum age to purchase tobacco across every state.

“New Jersey already raised the smoking age to 21 but this will bring up the rest of the country.”

The bill would direct the FDA to prohibit non face to face sales of all tobacco products.

Smokers will no longer be able to light up at New Jersey’s parks and beaches starting later this month, when a ban on smoking cigarettes and vaping takes effect.

Anti-smoking advocates have hailed the move as a step forward for public health in the Garden State, and environmentalists hope the ban will reduce the amount of smoking-related litter discarded along the Jersey Shore.