Vaping Restrained in Piscataway

Rutgers Professors, County Health Director Stand with Mayor Wahler on Township’s Far-Reaching Sales Ban on Vaping Products

January 6, 2020 – At Mayor Brian C. Wahler’s unveiling of a new Piscataway ordinance that bans the sale of vaping products within 500 meters of schools and other sensitive locations, preeminent authorities on their dangers spoke at Piscataway Town Hall today.

“Every hurdle that increases the opportunity cost of an addictive product affects purchasing decisions and makes progress,” Associate Professor Kevin Schroth of the Rutgers School of Public Health said.  “This ordinance is well suited to the nature of the e-cigarette epidemic.  It restricts the availability of e-cigarettes more thoroughly than a flavor ban.”

According to Professor Schroth’s biography, he “…served at the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene as the Senior Legal Counsel directing tobacco control policy for the City.  During his tenure, he played a principal role in drafting and advancing more than a dozen laws designed to reduce tobacco use, and policies designed to reduce sodium and sugary beverage consumption.”

The ordinance passed unanimously on first reading on November 7th and second reading on November 25th.  After being signed by Mayor Wahler, it went into effect on December 16th.

Township officials are giving local businesses until the end of January to comply.  Fines are minimums of $250 for the first offense, $500 for the second offense and $1,000 for every subsequent offense.

“Younger people are unfortunately utilizing these dangerous products and suffering because of them,” Dr. Karen W. Lin, Professor & Assistant Dean of Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and medical advisor of the Piscataway Health Advisory Commission, stated.  “High school student use has jumped to 20.8 percent and this is fraught with immediate as well as life-long injury.”

“With our Township’s full range of free sports opportunities and a new $32 million community center about to open, this ban on vaping products fits well with our mission to better ensure the health of our youth,” Mayor Brian C. Wahler said.  “We want kids playing ball or going to a playground after school, not vaping.”

“Over the past months, we have seen the potential dangers associated with vaping,” Middlesex County Health Services Director Lester Jones said. 
“As of December 27, 2019, a total of 2,561 cases of hospitalized e-cigarette, or vaping, product use associated lung injury (EVALI) or deaths have been reported to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention from 50 states, the District of Columbia, and two U.S. territories (Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands).”

“I would like to commend Mayor Wahler and the Council, the Piscataway Municipal Alliance, and the Piscataway Health Advisory Commission for their efforts and leadership in tobacco policy and community outreach,” Jones added.

Follows are links to recent Rutgers research on vaping:

Rutgers Experts Explore Impact of E-Cigarettes, Vaping on Marginalized Populations

Rutgers Medical Expert Discusses Health Effects of Vaping on Youth