New Jersey bans sale of flavored vaping products; vape shop owners worry about future

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Gov. Phil Murphy has signed legislation prohibiting the sale of flavored vaping products.

Murphy signed the measure which was created amid a nationwide scare last year over mysterious illnesses linked to vaping. The law will take effect in April and would ban menthol but permit tobacco flavors.

Opponents of the law say that it will hurt businesses that sell vaping products and that the ban won’t do much to prevent people from using them.

“It’s taking tax money and revenue from our state’s economy,” says North Brunswick vape shop owner Frank Genito. “Everybody who wants it will just pick up their iPhone and order it online.”

Genito says that he does not know how shops like his will stay in business once the ban takes effect.

RELATED: Vape shop owners fear going out of business if flavor ban law is signed 
RELATED: Lawmakers advance vape flavor ban; bill heads to Murphy for signature 

But Murphy and the bill's sponsors say the flavors are meant to hook young people, who are using the products in increasing numbers. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, teen use is up 78%. Juul use has doubled last year among those ages 15-34. Testing shows the devices carry nicotine, nickel, heavy metals and cancer-causing chemicals.

The governor said in a statement, "Research shows that flavored electronic smoking devices and products, such as mint, candy, fruit and chocolate are extremely appealing, especially to children."

About 2,600 people nationwide were sickened by vaping last year, along with 60 deaths. The CDC says that those deaths were linked to THC use.

Those who do vape say that they think many will go back to smoking cigarettes if they can’t get the flavored vape products.

Vaper Muran Veniszee says that he uses flavored vape products without nicotine. He says that it actually helped him stop smoking.

Murphy also signed a second related bill that states that coupons and rebates are no longer allowed to be offered for vape and tobacco products.

The Associated Press wire services contributed to this report.

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