Picture by Josie Desmarais 

San Francisco simply turned the primary US metropolis to ban the sale and distribution of e-cigarettes, despite the fact that it is dwelling to the nation’s largest e-cig producer.

On Tuesday, the town Board of Supervisors unanimously handed a brand new ordinance that may ban all gross sales of e-cigarettes in brick-and mortar shops. A second ordinance will prohibit on-line retailers from transport e-cigs to clients dwelling in San Francisco. These ordinances have to be accredited by Mayor London Breed throughout the subsequent 10 days, however she has indicated that she’s going to accomplish that. As soon as signed, the bans will take impact in seven months.

Luckily, these restrictions don’t apply to the cannabis business. Any marijuana product that’s at present authorized, together with cannabis vape pens and cartridges, will stay authorized. 

“This can be a decisive step to assist forestall one other technology of San Francisco kids from turning into hooked on nicotine,” mentioned Metropolis Legal professional Dennis Herrera, co-author of the ordinance, to NPR. “This momentary moratorium would not be mandatory if the federal authorities had accomplished its job. E-cigarettes are a product that, by regulation, usually are not allowed available on the market with out FDA overview. For some purpose, the FDA has thus far refused to comply with the regulation. If the federal authorities is just not going to behave, San Francisco will.”

The board’s choice to advertise public well being over company income got here as a shock, particularly on condition that Juul, the nation’s largest e-cigarette maker, is headquartered in San Francisco. The corporate is not going to be required to maneuver out of the area that they’re at present renting from the town, however the brand new ordinance will forestall any e-cigarette producers from renting metropolis property sooner or later.

Juul, which now controls round 70 % of the nation’s e-cig market, is reportedly planning to launch a poll initiative to overturn the ban in November. “This full prohibition will drive former grownup people who smoke who efficiently switched to vapor merchandise again to lethal cigarettes, deny the chance to change for present grownup people who smoke, and create a thriving black market as a substitute of addressing the precise causes of underage entry and use,” mentioned Ted Kwong, a Juul spokesperson, to The Guardian.

San Francisco Supervisor Shamann Walton, one other co-author of the ordinance, instructed NPR that he was disgusted with the way in which that Juul and different e-cig makers are “placing income earlier than the well being of younger folks and other people normally…. We spent a couple of a long time combating Huge Tobacco within the type of cigarettes. Now, we’ve got to do it once more within the type of e-cigarettes.”

Smaller companies are involved concerning the influence that the ban could have on their gross sales. Miriam Zouzounis, proprietor of a neighborhood comfort retailer and board member of the Arab American Grocers Affiliation, instructed NPR that she thinks this invoice will hit smaller, immigrant-owned companies the toughest. Zouzounis’ retailer reportedly makes between $200 and $300 in e-cigarette gross sales each day.

Teen tobacco use has been on a gentle decline for many years, however as vaping has grown extra standard, the speed of adlescent smoking has been again on the rise. Over 4.9 million teenagers reportedly used e-cigarettes final 12 months, 1.5 million greater than reported in 2017. The variety of high-school seniors who reported vaping throughout the previous month virtually doubled between 2017 and 2018, and a latest examine has discovered that American teenagers now choose e-cigarettes (and weed) to conventional cigarettes.