New Jersey lawmakers advance flavored vaping ban

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New Jersey lawmakers have advanced proposals banning flavored electronic cigarettes as well as menthol-flavored traditional cigarettes.

Assembly and state Senate committees approved the measures during hearings Thursday that drew dozens of people seeking to weigh in.

Supporters said the flavored e-cigarettes hook kids on nicotine.

RELATED: US officials identify 'strong culprit' in vaping illnesses 
RELATED: Jersey City council members set to propose flavor e-cig ban 

"They enjoy cotton candy, licorice, whatever flavors happen to be because they're fun. But they're also extraordinarily addictive,” says Democratic state Sen. Joe Vitale. “And so, we have thousands of kids in New Jersey who are addicted as a result of vaping and this would mitigate the issue. We'll deal with this issue going forward but we have to stop the addiction before it happens."

But critics of the legislation argued that banning flavors will set up a black market and hurt business.

Gov. Phil Murphy pushed lawmakers to ban flavored e-cigarettes last month amid a nationwide outbreak tied to vaping. More than 2,000 Americans who vape have gotten sick since March, many of them young people. At least 40 people have died.

Federal officials recently announced a breakthrough into the cause of the outbreak, reporting vitamin E acetate was found from vaping devices used by many who got sick.

The Associated Press wire services contributed to this report.

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