Our organizations strongly support Gov. Phil Murphy’s call today for statewide legislation to prohibit the sale of flavored e-cigarettes, including menthol, in New Jersey. Passage of such legislation would be a tremendous victory for New Jersey’s kids and protect them from nicotine addiction and other health risks associated with e-cigarette use. We applaud Gov. Murphy for his leadership in recognizing that urgent action is needed to protect kids and public health from e-cigarettes and for proposing a comprehensive strategy to address this crisis.
The time is now to end the youth e-cigarette epidemic, and Gov. Murphy’s call for prohibiting all flavored e-cigarettes is exactly what we need. The evidence is clear that flavored e-cigarettes have fueled this epidemic – 97 percent of youth e-cigarette users report using a flavored product in the past month and 70 percent cite flavors as the reason for their use. The recent spate of serious lung illnesses being reported across the country underscores the urgency of acting now to protect our kids and, indeed, the health of all Americans.
According to newly-released data from the 2019 National Youth Tobacco Survey (2019 NYTS), the youth e-cigarette epidemic has gotten even worse in the last year. E-cigarette use among high school students nationwide increased to 27.5% in 2019 compared to 11.7% in 2017 and 20.8% in 2018. Altogether 5 million middle and high school students now use e-cigarettes.
We look forward to working with Gov. Murphy and the state legislature to pass legislation quickly. We urge the legislature to prohibit the sale of all flavored tobacco products, including menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars. It is time to stop tobacco companies from luring and addicting kids with flavored products once and for all.