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Assemblywoman BettyLou DeCroce called on lawmakers to advance a bill that would make it illegal for people under the age of 21 to possess electronic smoking devices.
“We already prohibit people under 21 from buying e-cigarettes and other electronic smoking devices, but it’s not illegal for them to be in possession of them,” DeCroce said. “My bill will extend the prohibition to possession as well. We need to put more distance between New Jersey’s youth and whatever health risks are related to these devices.”
State law prohibits the sale of tobacco products, including electronic cigarettes, to persons under the age of 21. It also bars those under 21 years old from purchasing tobacco products.
But, owning cigarettes and other nicotine delivery systems is legal at all ages.
DeCroce’s bill would impose a $25 civil penalty on those under the age of 21 who own electronic smoking devices.
The assemblywoman’s push comes amidst a spate of vape-related illnesses nationwide. Health officials have yet to link the issues to any particular vape brand or product.
“We don’t want to make criminals out of young people over these devices. But we need to add another buffer between them and what may be a serious health risk, and my legislation will do that,” DeCroce said. “Adults can make their own informed decisions about these things, but we shouldn’t allow our young people to be unwitting guinea pigs while doctors and scientists figure out the exact problem with the devices.”