What Parents and Students Need to Know About Vaping in and out of school in Pennsylvania & New Jersey
Our law firm represents persons charged with crimes and offenses in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. While vaping isn’t necessarily something that will lead to a criminal charge but rather a school sanction, it is an important issue for many of our clients and their families. Our law firm wants to provide value based content to help our families. The purpose of this short blog is to provide a quick overview of the vaping laws in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
Vaping in Pennsylvania
Vaping, otherwise known as electronic cigarettes or E-cigarettes, are defined in Pennsylvania as any electronic oral device which provides a vapor of nicotine or any substance and the use or inhaling of which simulates smoking. The term includes a device described as an electronic cigarette as well as any device manufactured, distributed, or marketed as e-cigar as an e-pipe or any other product for which a liquid or substance is placed; this definition includes vaping!
Pennsylvania strictly prohibits the sale of electronic cigarettes or vapors or vapes to persons under the age of 21 or under the age of 18 if the person is in the military or a veteran. Self service displays of vapes are restricted to tobacco stores. The Commonwealth does not allow vending machines for electronic cigarettes or vapes in locations accessible to persons under the age of 21. Stores in Pennsylvania actually need retail licenses to sell e-cigarettes and e-cigarettes which include vapors (vapes) are prohibited in Pennsylvania schools, school vehicles and on school property owed or leased under the control of a School District.
Currently, Pennsylvania’s Clean Indoor Air Act has not been amended to prohibit the use of vapor products where smoking is prohibited. Philadelphia, however, prohibits vaping where smoking is prohibited pursuant to City Ordinance. Philadelphia also restricts non-tobacco flavored and high nicotine vapor products to adults only stores.
A federal law passed in December 2019 prohibits the sale of all tobacco products and vapor products to anyone under the age of 21 and Pennsylvania passed the Tobacco/Vapor 21 law in November of 2019.
Vaping in New Jersey
New Jersey is very similar to Pennsylvania in that the sale/distribution of electronic cigarettes and or vapors is prohibited to anyone under the age of 21. E-liquids may only be sold at retail establishments licensed with the State. Further, any business that sells vapor products must also stock at least one type of nicotine replacement therapy drug or device. New Jersey, like Pennsylvania, requires a special retail license or permit to sell e-cigarettes. The use of electronic smoking devices or vape is prohibited on all school grounds in New Jersey and any other place where smoking is prohibited under New Jersey’s Smoke Free Air Act.
Does Vaping cause health problems?
The use of e-cigarettes or vaping is sometimes referred to a Juuling. A 2019 study showed that the long-term health effects of vaping put people at a higher risk for respiratory disease than people who never smoked. Neither smoking nor vaping is beneficial to human health. Secondhand smoke contains more than 7,000 chemicals, hundreds of which are toxic, 70 of which cause cancer.
Vaping often contains large doses of nicotine, a substance known to slow the development of brains in children and teens. The liquid that creates vapors is dangerous to adults and children if they swallow it, inhale it, or it gets on their skin. According to the CDC, in 2021 alone, over 2,800 people were hospitalized with complications related to vaping.
Vaping, obviously, presents a severe health problem for young people in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. While it is technically a violation of State and federal law, the effects of it on people are far worse than potential fines and court costs.