New Jersey officials are grappling with growing reports of severe lung disease among relatively young patients with a history of e-cigarette use as the nation contends with a vaping explosion and new questions about the health impacts of these devices.
There is a consensus that more study is needed to identify exactly what is causing the damage — and what products are most to blame — while the e-cigarette industry insists its products are a safe alternative to traditional cigarettes. But public health leaders have raised concerns about the flavors, colors and marketing strategies vape companies use which they say are designed to target kids.
Hospital organizations and insurers have increased efforts to curb vaping. Public officials are taking steps to reduce the long-term impact of e-cigarettes on a new generation. Gov. Phil Murphy has outlined regulatory and legislative steps he believes New Jersey should take, including banning flavored products, and state Sen. Joseph Vitale has introduced a bill to do so.
Experts discussed how to understand vaping usage and best manage risks to public health at an NJ Spotlight roundtable in Newark on Dec. 6, 2019.
Dr. Shereef Elnahal, President and CEO of University Hospital
Panel I: Understanding Vaping Health Risks
Eric Costanzo, D.O., Pulmonary Medicine, Critical Care Medicine, Hackensack Meridian Health
Sam DeAlmeida, MS, MA, New Jersey Government Relations Director, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, Inc.
Abigail Thompson, Youth Prevention Manager, RWJBarnabas Health Institute for Prevention and Recovery
Panel II: Exploring Policy Initiatives
Assemblyman Herb Conaway Jr., Chair, Health and Senior Services Committee, New Jersey State General Assembly
Gregory Conley, President, American Vaping Association
Senator Joseph F. Vitale, Chair, Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee, New Jersey State Senate
Lilo H. Stainton, Healthcare Reporter, NJ Spotlight
“Is JUUL getting a new generation addicted to nicotine?” a Truth Initiative video, referenced by Assemblyman Herb Conaway Jr.