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Conaway Bill Requiring Licensing of Vape Shops & Manufacturers Gains Assembly Panel Approval

Legislation will help crackdown on sales to minors, protect consumers

(TRENTON) – An Assembly panel on Monday approved legislation sponsored by Assemblyman Herb Conaway Jr., M.D. to license electronic smoking retailers and manufacturers in New Jersey in order to better monitor the industry and crackdown on sales to minors.

“As it stands now, electronic cigarettes retailers and manufactures are not licensed like traditional tobacco shops so we essentially have no mechanism to ensure they are abiding by state laws,” said Conaway (D-Burlington). “This bill would establish licensure requirements and revocation proceedings for vendors who violate the law, particularly when it comes to issues like illegally selling products to minors, while also creating a new source of revenue for the state.”

A new report released last week by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine concluded that vaping with e-cigarettes that contain nicotine can be addictive and that teenagers who use the devices may be put at higher risk of switching to traditional smoking. Nationally, 15 states and the District of Columbia have already passed laws requiring e-cigarette retailers and vape shops to obtain either a license or a permit to do business.

Conaway’s bill (A-1601) would establish annual licensure requirements for manufacturers, wholesale dealers, distributors, and retail dealers of vapor products, which are defined to mean electronic smoking devices and related products, including the liquid nicotine cartridges used in the devices.

Under the bill, an entity holding a tobacco product license issued under current law would be deemed to hold the corresponding vapor product licensure and would not be required to obtain a separate license.

The Director of the state Division of Consumer Affairs would be charged with administering and enforcing the provisions of the bill.

The annual licensure fees established under the bill would be as follows: $10 for a manufacturer license; $5 for a manufacturer representative license; $250 for a wholesale dealer license; $350 for a distributor license; $50 for a retail dealer license; and $50 for a retail dealer operating a vapor product vending machine license.

Of the $50 fee paid to the director for issuance of each retail dealer license and each vending machine license, $30 would be credited to the special projects and development fund in the Department of Health.

Each license or certificate of licensure issued under this bill would have to be exhibited in the place of business for which it is issued and in such manner as may be prescribed by the director.

The bill specifies that no person, including a licensed retail dealer, may create, produce, or modify any vapor product or nicotine solution for the purposes of sale or distribution within or without of the state unless that person is a licensed manufacturer.

The Director of Consumer Affairs may, upon notice and a hearing, suspend or revoke a license issued under the bill for a violation of the bill or any other provision of law, including, but not limited to, acting in a capacity that exceeds the licensee’s scope of licensure.

The bill was approved by the Assembly Health and Senior Services Committee chaired by Conaway. It would take effect seven months following enactment.