EGG HARBOR CITY – Mayor Lisa Jiampetti met Atlantic Prevention Resources Coordinator of Tobacco Programs Kim Burns and Carlo Favretto, the Regional Youth Coordinator for the Southern Region, at a recent Municipal Alliance meeting. She was so impressed by the message they sent about the dangers of vaping that she invited them to attend the Thursday, Jan. 24 City Council meeting.
“Vaping has reached epidemic levels at the high school level,” Favretto said. “While the rate is 20.8 percent nationwide, that number climbs to 35 percent to 40 percent in New Jersey.”
Burns and Favretto said Juuls, a type of e-cigarette that resembles a flash dive, is especially troublesome. “They are easy to hide from parents and contain higher concentrations of nicotine than cigarettes,” Favretto said. “The pods inserted in the Juul come in many flavors, including mango, pineapple and mint. We have also found that one-third to one-half of the time other drugs are used in the device.”
The presenters added that parents often purchase the product for their children thinking that it is a safer alternative to smoking cigarettes.
Burns urged council members to read and possibly adopt ordinances that she presented from towns in New Jersey that have regulated sale of the products. “Twenty municipalities have adopted vaping ordinances,” she said. “Numerous towns have passed ordinances establishing licensing fees for stores that sell vape products. Evesham Township in Burlington County, about a year ago, passed an ordinance restricting the sale of vape products close to a school.”
“This is something we need to deal with as a community,” Jiampetti said.
Councilman Clifford Mays Jr. expressed concern. “We shouldn’t get involved,” he said. “It could get us into legal trouble.”
“We have been very proactive by passing no-smoking regulations on city properties including parks,” City Solicitor James Carroll said. “Princeton passed an ordinance to require a $1,200 fee for a license to sell the product, which I expect to see challenged. We can’t afford to fight a legal challenge. There needs to be statewide regulations”
Council President Robert Ross referred the issue to the council’s ordinance committee for a review and recommendation.
Also at the meeting, Atlantic County Utilities Authority President Richard Dovey made a presentation about the new recycling policy the authority has issued. “For the past 15 to 20 years much of the western world has been shipping 64 percent of its recyclables to China,” he said. “In fact, recyclables are this country’s second largest export product. China is now cutting back on the amount it wants to import, as they need to take care of their own countries recyclables.”
Under the previous policy, plastic products numbered one to seven were accepted. Now, only numbers one and two are acceptable.
“Under the contract with our contractor Republic Waste and Recycling, no more than 10 percent of the recycling stream can include contaminants or else we will be subject to a contamination fee,” Dovey said. “It is critical that the public only recycle the correct plastic products and also does not include items such as soiled pizza boxes, aerosol cans, plastic bags and shredded paper. We also cannot recycle bottle caps, so they should be removed and put into the trash.”
Dovey said the recyclables are being shipped to other countries, but they are starting to balk. “However, the Chinese are investing in opening recycling plants here in the United States,” Dovey said.
“Where there is a void someone will fill it if there is money to be made,” Ross said.