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Posted on: May 12, 2020

South Orange Passes Vaping Enforcement Ordinance

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Ordinance was passed on May 11, 2020.

To enhance its ability to enforce New Jersey State law precluding the sale of vaping products to minors, the Township of South Orange Village has passed a local vaping ordinance. Retailers seeking to sell vaping products must obtain a license to do so, authorize only those over the age of twenty one (21) to sell the products, and obtain proof of age, regardless of perceived customer age, before selling the products. Retailers must also install cameras and retain video surveillance that can be used to spot check compliance with state law and local ordinance requirements. 

The number of middle and high school students using e-cigarettes rose 50% from 2018 to 2019, according to the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). According to the same 2019 CDC study, about 1 of every 10 middle school students (10.5%) and more than 1 of every 4 high school students (27.5%) reported that they used electronic cigarettes in the past 30 days. The CDC, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), state and local health departments, and other clinical and public health partners are investigating a national outbreak of e-cigarette, or vaping, product use-associated lung injury (EVALI). According to the American Lung Association, smoking and vaping cause harm to the lungs, leaving lung tissue inflamed, fragile and susceptible to infection. In addition, tobacco use has been proven to harm immune system and airway lining cells that contain cilia on their surface which are our essential defenders against viruses like COVID-19.

Local parents and our middle school officials have reported that retailers are selling vaping products to middle school children. James H. Davis III, who chairs the Black Parents Workshop, said “I am happy to see our Village addressing this very serious matter and I am honored to have been part of a wide range of community groups, parents and public officials that have taken proactive steps to protect our children”. NJ State law bars retailers from selling vaping products to minors. The new ordinance is designed to enhance the ability of South Orange police and health officers to enforce NJ state law relating to vaping use. 

“While I’m reluctant to burden our local businesses with new regulations, especially during our COVID-19 state of emergency, the health of our children is an overriding concern,” said Donna Coallier, Village Trustee, and President of the South Orange Board of Health. “To lessen the burden of compliance during COVID-19, we have deferred the financial implications of our new ordinance.” Police Chief Kyle Kroll observed “in tandem, the cameras and the requirement to I-D all customers who buy vaping products should make it easier to spot check for compliance”. Walter Clarke, Village Trustee and Health & Public Safety committee member stated: “For the few Village retailers that do sell vaping products, we hope this ordinance optimizes our ability to enforce state law without compromising the retailer’s ability to profit from legitimate product sales”.

Those seeking more information on the ordinance should contact Trustee Donna Coallier at dcoallier@southorange.org. Retailers seeking to apply for the license should contact Village Administrator Adam Loehner at aloehner@southorange.org.  

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