San Fran Ban Moves to Final Phase

Posted 26th June 2019 by Dave Cross
The San Francisco Board of Supervisors have carried out their second vote on the proposed ban to vaping – and again passed the motion. Now the proposal goes to a receptive Mayor, who has ten days to sign it off. The ban will take place in around seven months’ time. It is a triumph of ignorance and greed over common sense and science.

The ban legislation consists of two parts: one section bans the sale of all vape and flavoured products that haven't been through the FDA review process, the second part bans “the manufacture, sale, and distribution of e-cig products on city property”.

No manufacturer has put its products through the FDA review process.

Vaping will still be permitted for all those over 21 - but the proposed ban will prevent sales brick-and-mortar stores and online sales shipped to a San Francisco address will be prohibited.

Dennis Herrera, San Francisco's City Attorney, said the move was needed because of the "abdication of responsibility" by the FDA. “This is a decisive step to help prevent another generation of San Francisco children from becoming addicted to nicotine. Now, youth vaping is an epidemic. If the federal government is not going to act to protect our kids, San Francisco will."

The legislation will be signed off by Mayor London Breed. She commented: “I support the legislation authored by City Attorney Dennis Herrera and Supervisor Shamann Walton to suspend the sale of e-cigarettes in San Francisco until the Food and Drug Administration concludes a review of the impacts of vaping on public health.

“There is so much we don't know about the health impacts of these products, but we do know that e-cigarette companies are targeting our kids in their advertising and getting them hooked on addictive nicotine products. We need to take action to protect the health of San Francisco's youth and prevent the next generation of San Franciscans from becoming addicted to these products."

JUUL Labs is based in San Francisco.

JUUL spokesman Ted Kwong said: “This full prohibition will drive former adult smokers who successfully switched to vapor products back to deadly cigarettes, deny the opportunity to switch for current adult smokers, and create a thriving black market instead of addressing the actual causes of underage access and use. We have already taken the most aggressive actions in the industry to keep our products out of the hands of those underage and are taking steps to do more. Traditional tobacco products will remain untouched by this legislation, even though they kill 40,000 Californians every year.”

Carlos Solorzano, CEO of the Hispanic Chambers of Commerce of San Francisco, fumed: “I’m outraged. They have no idea how this is going to impact small businesses and our employees. We’re going to oppose it as strongly as we can. They can’t take away a right to choose for adults who want to buy legally.”

Dr. Sarah Jackson, Senior Research Fellow at University College London, said: “There is a general misconception that e-cigarettes are equally or more harmful than smoking, but evidence so far indicates that they are far less harmful as they don’t contain tobacco or involve combustion. E-cigarettes do contain nicotine, which is addictive, but isn’t responsible for the major health harms from smoking.”

“There is no smoke, tar or carbon monoxide in e-cigarettes, and while some traces of toxic chemicals have been found in some products, these are in much lower levels than tobacco cigarettes.”

“By switching to an e-cigarette, people could avoid a large amount of the damage caused to the body by smoking. Research so far points towards e-cigarettes being far closer to other nicotine replacement therapy products – such as patches and gums – than tobacco in terms of harm. Nicotine replacement therapy has been shown to be both safe and effective, and evidence from people who have used these products for years shows no increase in their risk of cancer or heart disease.”

In neighbouring Los Angeles, the LA Times carried a damning editorial [link]. “San Francisco’s e-cigarette ban isn’t just bad policy, it’s bad for public health,” it said.

“In addition to being easy to evade — plenty of e-cigarettes will still be available at retailers a short drive down the peninsula — the prohibition would create an opportunity for black marketers inside the city’s borders. In a perverse twist, that might make it easier for teens to buy vaping equipment because e-cigarette bootleggers are not likely to check IDs.”

“And here’s an even worse scenario: If adults who vape can’t get their hands on replacement nicotine cartridges, they might take up traditional cigarettes to get their fix.”

An almost unenforceable law is an incredibly bad and stupid piece of legislation – it is nothing more that virtue signalling. It will block the city’s ability to monitor sales to teens and drive adults to the still legal smoking alternative. It is difficult to sum up or describe the rank stupidity behind this move.

Resources:

  • “Does nicotine replacement therapy cause cancer? Evidence from the Lung Health Study” by Murray, Connett and Zapawa – [link]
  • E-cigarette Position from Cancer Research UK – [link]
  • “Evidence review of e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products 2018” report commissioned by Public Health England – [link]


 Dave Cross
Article by Dave Cross
Freelance writer, physicist, karateka, dog walker