Essex-Passaic Wellness Coalition

Essex-Passaic Wellness Coalition

Essex-Passaic Wellness Coalition logo

After eight years serving as separate coalitions, the Essex and Passaic County Cancer Coalitions united on July 1, 2012 to form the regional two-county Essex-Passaic Wellness Coalition, with an enhanced mission and combined meetings.

Truths Behind Hookah and E-cigarettes

The Smoke-Free Air Act was passed in 2006 in New Jersey. This act bans any action that creates smoke, which includes cigars and hookahs, and aims to prevent smoke exposure in work places to protect all employees. It is important to be aware of this act in order to avoid any fines associated with violation.

In September 2015, John E. Biegel, III, MA, the Health Officer of the City of Clifton, gave a presentation on the smoke-free air legislation and its enforcement, including information about the dangers and health concerns of e-cigarettes and hookahs. A streaming video of the presentation is provided below:

In February 2018, Mr. Biegel was joined by Ms. Layal Helwani, CHES, health educator for the City of Clifton, and Mr. Vinny Smith, health educator for Horizon NJ Health, to conduct a presentation on “Electronic Cigarettes and Tobacco Products: Hidden dangers and implications for public health”, at the regular public meeting of the Essex-Passaic Wellness Coalition:

Picture and text from March 2018 Clifton Merchant, p. 70, showing meeting organizers and presenters at 26-Feb-2018 EPWC public meeting, along with discussion of e-cigarette hazards

© Clifton Merchant Magazine, 2018. With permission from the publisher, Tom Hawrylko.


Contrary to many beliefs, hookahs are not a safe alternative to cigarettes. Hookah smoking is the use of water pipes to smoke a special type of tobacco with various flavors. It has health risks similar to cigarette smoking. A brief description of these health risks is shown in the image below:

(Click to enlarge.)

Here are some additional recently published articles and links to other resources that provide more information on what hookahs are and the truths counteracting some of the misconceptions associated with hookah smoking:


E-cigarettes, or electronic cigarettes, are battery-operated cigarettes that vaporize a chemical-filled liquid that is toxic and contains nicotine. This toxic vapor is then inhaled by the user.

Below are some articles that shed light on the negative aspects of e-cigarettes and on commonly misheld beliefs:

Smoke-free outdoor air ordinances in New Jersey

Many New Jersey counties and municipalities have passed smoke-free outdoor air ordinances, which prohibit smoking in parks and recreation areas. In addition to reducing exposure to second-hand smoke, these have the salutary effect of making smoking unacceptable in large public areas, thus reducing the availability of spaces in which youth can try, and become addicted to, tobacco products.

You can find out whether your New Jersey county and municipality have passed smoke-free outdoor air ordinances in an online database of smoke-free outdoor air ordinances.

Other useful tobacco-related resources