Beaches in New Jersey are banning smoking for a good reason: Nearly 30,000 cigarette butts were left lying on the Jersey shores last year. Unfortunately, vapers are getting unfairly penalized for the sins of smokers since municipalities are moving to ban vaping at the beach as well. This latest crackdown on e-cigs is part of a national trend that erroneously ties smoking and vaping together.
No More Vaping on New Jersey’s Beaches?
Following the example of some local governments, the New Jersey State Legislature recently approved a bill that will ban both smoking and vaping on all NJ public beaches and parks. Once the ban takes effect, offenders will be fined $250 for a first offense, $500 for a second offense and for $1,000 for each subsequent violation. Public facilities may still set aside smoking areas within parking lots.
Including e-cigs under smoking bans is always unfair, but in this particular case, it makes even less sense given the rationale behind the bill. Many lawmakers cited environmental and economic concerns as their motivation for supporting the legislation. Cigarette butts are harmful to wildlife, and beaches that look like ashtrays are unappealing to tourists, so prohibiting smoking on public grounds sounds reasonable. That said, e-cigs do not produce cigarette butts, so why are they being banned too?
The Differences Between Cigarettes and E-Cigs
International research has demonstrated that e-cig vapor is not nearly as harmful as cigarette smoke. While tobacco cigarettes pose a significant health hazard to smokers and everyone around them, e-cigs do not harm bystanders. In fact, they deter many former tobacco users from smoking, which is why the British Royal College of Physicians advises doctors to recommend vaping to their patients who smoke. Indeed, preventing people from vaping can actually make it harder for them to quit tobacco.
Nonetheless, media coverage of e-cigs continues to paint vaping as a public health crisis in America. Because many e-cigs are designed to look like tobacco cigarettes, and the act of vaping looks so similar to smoking, it’s difficult for people to mentally separate them. Consequently, ignorance and fear have led local governments around the country to ban both smoking and vaping in public places.
Vaping Laws in New Jersey
Speaking of which, New Jersey already has some of the strictest laws regarding who can purchase tobacco and vapor products. Not long ago, the state became the third in the nation to raise its smoking age to 21. According to the new law, anyone caught selling e-cigs or conventional tobacco products to individuals under the age of 21 may face prosecution and steep fines.
Everyone agrees that e-cigs are for adults, which is why White Cloud has an age verification process for all e-cig sales. White Cloud will always comply with state and local laws, and we’ll keep our customers posted whenever new e-cig regulations arise.