Raritan Township has widened its public smoking ban to include vape products amid heightened concerns over health risks.

At a Township Committee meeting on Tuesday, the panel unanimously adopted an ordinance that makes offenses punishable by fines of up to $200 and/or up to a month of community service or county jail time.

The ban on smoking and use of vape products extends to school, police and municipal buildings within the township, as well as parks and recreation facilities.

Earlier this week, state health officials confirmed the death of a woman in North Jersey from a vaping-related illness.

It is the state's first death connected to vaping devices, amid a nationwide outbreak of serious lung illnesses linked to the use of such products. Authorities did not release her name.

On Thursday, a task force empaneled last month by Gov. Phil Murphy recommended that the state ban the sale of flavored e-cigarette cartridges in an effort to curb youth use and addiction.

It is not clear how many municipalities have already adopted ordinances like the one in this township.

In January, the Morris County Park Commission updated its smoking ban to include vaping products as prohibited within any recreation area under its reach.

Vaping also is included in a smoking ban that's in effect since January at New Jersey's beaches and boardwalks.

Under that law, municipalities or counties are allowed to create a small smoking area on a beach (not exceeding 15% of the total area).

 

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