San Francisco Becomes First Major City in U.S. to Ban E-Cigarette Sales

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San Francisco Becomes First Major City in U.S. to Ban E-Cigarette Sales

06/26/2019
No vaping product signs

SAN FRANCISCO — The San Francisco Board of Supervisors approved legislation to prohibit the sale the electronic cigarettes within the city.

The measure bans the sale of e-cigarette and vapor products that have not been reviewed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The agency has regulatory authority over tobacco products, including e-cigarette and vapor, and the products need FDA approval to remain on the market.

To date, the agency has not issued any approvals.

"This is a decisive step to help prevent another generation of San Francisco children from becoming addicted to nicotine. I want to thank Supervisor Shamann Walton and the rest of the Board of Supervisors for their action today," said City Attorney Dennis Herrera.

"The U.S. Surgeon General has warned that we're in the midst of a youth vaping epidemic. San Francisco is taking action to protect our kids. This temporary moratorium wouldn't be necessary if the federal government had done its job," he added. "E-cigarettes are a product that, by law, are not allowed on the market without FDA review. For some reason, the FDA has so far refused to follow the law. If the federal government is not going to act, San Francisco will."

The board's unanimous vote on June 25 made the Northern California municipality the first city to take such action. Supporters of the ban have said they legislation will help stem youth use of electronic cigarettes and vapor products. However, opponents have raised concerns that the measure will make it harder for adult cigarette smokers to switch, according to The Associated Press.

Vapor company Juul Labs Inc., which is based in San Francisco, opposes youth use vaping. The company is working on a ballot initiative that would regulate, not ban, e-cigarette and vapor sales, the AP reported.

Like numerous municipalities across the United States, San Francisco has taken tobacco regulation into its own hands in the absence of moves at the federal level.

In June 2018, San Francisco voters approved Proposition E, which prohibits tobacco retailers from selling flavored tobacco products, as Convenience Store News previously reported.