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JUUL’s San Fran Fightback

JUUL Labs is fighting back against the San Francisco vape ban by pushing for a ballot on new proposals

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San Francisco’s ban was just the latest in a list of parts of America that have jumped to restrict vaping in order to protect their tobacco revenue Almost two dozen cities and counties in California have enacted limitations on the types of products allowed to be sold. JUUL Labs, based in San Francisco, is not taking this lying down.

Following the decision to ban vaping, those who gain the most from the failed war on tobacco crowed with delight. Stanton Glantz called the city ban "a totally brilliant way of a local government basically saying to the FDA and to JUUL and the other e-cigarette companies that hey, we’ve got a law here and it should be followed.”

The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids benefits from an income that would dry up if vaping supplanted smoking. Its director Matthew Myers said: “It has to be an irritant for the company that plays the leading role in the youth e-cigarette epidemic in the United States to be headquartered in the city that has done more than any other to try to protect its youth.”

Larry Tramutola was one of those coordinating the flavour ban: “San Francisco oftentimes is at the forefront of these kinds of efforts — whether it be taxing soda or eliminating candy-flavoured tobacco products. They are hunkering down for battles both here in San Francisco and around the country and perhaps in other places around the world because of a bigger problem, which is how these products are marketed and used by kids. This is going to be a battle that’s going to go on a while. We’re seeing the first skirmishes.”

And a battle they have.

JUUL delivered a ballot titled “An Act to Prevent Youth Use of Vapor Products” to the Department of Elections, proposing to tighten legal protections and ensure under 21’s won’t be sold vape products.

“No person shall knowingly purchase a vapor product for another person who is under the age of 21, or provide a vapor product to another person who is under the age of 21 without charge, for nominal charge, or barter or exchange.”

By doing this, JUUL will ensure they have the legal right to sell their products as it will supersede the Board of Administrators ban.

The campaign to collect signatures was run by the Coalition for Reasonable Vaping Regulation. Nate Allbee, spokesperson for the Coalition said that it had obtained almost 20,000 signatures – over double the 9,485 needed to get the process moving.

The ballot proposes:

  • A purchase limit of 2 devices and 20 cartridges at one time in brick-and-mortar stores
  • An online purchase limit of 2 devices and 60ml of eliquid per month
  • Online retailers selling to San Francisco would need permits
  • Brick-and-mortar retailers would have to adopt age verification technology to scan ID cards
  • Brick-and-mortar retailers would have to keep vape products in a lockbox

It seems that no matter which side wins this was, vapers and smoker in California will lose.

Dave Cross avatar

Dave Cross

Journalist at POTV
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Dave is a freelance writer; with articles on music, motorbikes, football, pop-science, vaping and tobacco harm reduction in Sounds, Melody Maker, UBG, AWoL, Bike, When Saturday Comes, Vape News Magazine, and syndicated across the Johnston Press group. He was published in an anthology of “Greatest Football Writing”, but still believes this was a mistake. Dave contributes sketches to comedy shows and used to co-host a radio sketch show. He’s worked with numerous vape companies to develop content for their websites.

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