San Francisco looks to become the first US city to ban all e-cigarette sales
- On Tuesday, city supervisors will vote on measures that would ban the sale and distribution of e-cigarettes in San Francisco
- There would also be a ban on manufacturing e-cigarettes on city property
- It could mean that leading e-cigarette company Juul may no longer be allowed to keep its headquarters in San Francisco
- Health officials hope the ban will crack down on the rising rates of youth vaping
San Francisco government officials are considering legislation, which would make the city the first in the US to ban all sales of electronic cigarettes.
On Tuesday, supervisors will vote on measures that ban the sale and distribution of e-cigarettes in the city until the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) completes a review of the health effects of the vaping devices.
Additionally, there would be a ban on manufacturing e-cigarettes on city property.
This means that Juul, the leading e-cigarette company, may no longer be allowed to keep its headquarters in San Francisco.
Health officials are hoping an outright ban will help crack down on the rates of youth vaping that have been rising drastically across the US.
On Tuesday, San Francisco supervisors will vote on measures that ban the sale and distribution of e-cigarettes in the city, as well as a manufacturing ban on city property. Pictured: A cashier displays a packet of tobacco-flavored Juul pods at a store in San Francisco, June 2019
E-cigarettes have been the most commonly used tobacco product among young people in the country since 2014.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of middle and high school students who use tobacco products increased by 36 percent from 2017 to 2018.
Health officials attribute this rise to e-cigarette use.
Dr Stanton Glantz, a professor of medicine at the University of California San Francisco Center for Tobacco Control and Research and a supporter of the measures, said e-cigarettes are associated with heart attacks, strokes and lung disease.
The presence of e-cigarettes has ‘completely reversed the progress we’ve made in youth smoking in the last few years,’ he said.
‘Young people have almost indiscriminate access to a product that shouldn’t even be on the market,’ said San Francisco city attorney Dennis Herrera.
Because the FDA hasn’t acted, he said, ‘it’s unfortunately falling to states and localities to step into the breach.’
In a statement to the Associated Press, FDA spokesman Michael Felberbaum said the agency will continue to ‘tackle the troubling epidemic of e-cigarette use among kids.’
‘This includes preventing youth access to, and appeal of, flavored tobacco products like e-cigarettes and cigars, taking action against manufacturers and retailers who illegally market or sell these products to minors, and educating youth about the dangers of e-cigarettes and other tobacco products,’ he said
Juul, the leading e-cigarette company, has framed vaping as a healthier alternative to smoking tobacco.
The company says it has taken steps to deter children from using its products such as making its online age verification process more robust and shutting down its Instagram and Facebook accounts.
‘But the prohibition of vapor products for all adults in San Francisco will not effectively address underage use and will leave cigarettes on shelves as the only choice for adult smokers, even though they kill 40,000 Californians every year,’ said Juul spokesman Ted Kwong.
The American Vaping Association also opposes San Francisco’s proposal, saying adult smokers deserve access to less hazardous alternatives.
‘Going after youth is a step that you can take before taking these out of the hands of adults,’ said association president Gregory Conley.
Groups representing small businesses also oppose the measures, which they say could force stores to close.
‘We need to enforce the rules that we have in place already,’ said Carlos Solórzano, CEO of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of San Francisco.