TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — Candy, cocoa and chocolate, as well as any other flavor of e-cigarette, are among the flavors New Jersey lawmakers sought to prohibit on Thursday, along with a separate ban on menthol-flavored traditional cigarettes.
New Jersey’s Democrat-led Assembly and Senate health committees advanced the legislation after several hours of testimony that drew crowds of supporters and opponents to the statehouse annex.
Supporters of the flavor ban say it hooks kids on nicotine. Opponents worry the ban would lead to a black market and could also hurt some businesses in the state.
Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy supports banning e-cigarette flavors since a commission he established to come up with the state’s response to nationwide vaping-related outbreak recommended the prohibition last month.
His office declined to comment on the menthol cigarette ban.
That measure sparked some heated rhetoric from one lawmaker in particular.
Democratic state Sen. Ronald Rice, of Newark, chairs the Legislative Black Caucus and opposed the legislation. Rice pointed to the timing of the prohibitions coming as the state is also considering legalizing recreational marijuana, which he also opposes and says would likely harm the black community because he says businesses would likely be controlled by large,