vaping

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy has put together a 10-member task force charged with making recommendations on how the state can deal with what officials have called the “epidemic” of electronic cigarette use.

The announcement came as the U.S. continues to grapple with a mysterious respiratory illness related to vaping that has sickened at least three people in New Jersey with another 19 cases under investigation by state health officials.

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.