The chair of the Governor’s Electronic Smoking Device Task Force released a broadcast memo to all administrators and school districts on Sept. 18, saying she is “very concerned about the health dangers posed by vaping and the increasing incidence of severe respiratory illnesses that have hospitalized our youth.

“Electronic smoking devices were introduced into the U.S. market in 2007, and use of these products has skyrocketed to the point that in 2018, more than one in five high school students and about one in 20 middle-school students reported using e-cigarettes. This is double the usage from 2017,” said task force chair Judith M. Persichilli, who is also acting commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Health.

“Equally alarming,” Persichilli said, “is that flavored vaping oils are marketed with names like cotton candy, strawberry cheesecake and razzleberry that are attractive to children despite the fact that such sales are illegal in this state.”

Because of these alarming trends, she said, the New Jersey Department of Health has created a public awareness campaign with the following resources: A campaign that informs young people about the dangers of vaping and nicotine. It uses bold graphics and clear language to emphasize that vaping is just Big Tobacco’s new way to get them addicted to nicotine products. Media include videos, promotional items, social media properties, and a website. The site is informational and interactive, inviting users to share and create anti-vaping memes and messages. A page on the New Jersey Department of Health site that provides parents, teachers, coaches, and healthcare providers with the most up-to-date information about the dangers of e-cigarettes/vaping. Persichilli asked that “you help us spread the word by telling people about these sites and/or sharing their URLs and resources on social media. We need to do what we can now to ensure that vaping does not become the problem that smoking has been for so many generations.”