On June 25, city officials in San Francisco banned e-cigarette sales within city limits. Currently, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors is the first government entity in the United States to eliminate the sale of the products.
And, it’s ironic, especially since the San Francisco area is home to Juul, an electric cigarette company that employs approximately 1500 people. In 2018, the company recorded a revenue base of 2 billion dollars. Yes, two billion.
According to news reports, the ordinance bans e-cigs by stating “no person shall sell or distribute an electronic cigarette to a person in San Francisco unless the cigarette has undergone and passed review by the US Food and Drug Administration.”
The policy is slated to become effective 30 days after signing, with implementation within a six month period.
The main thrust of the ordinance is to keep e-cigarette products from youths. To eliminate access.
According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, from 2017 to 2018, students at the middle and high school level using tobacco products, increased by 38.3 percent.
That’s nearly 40% in one year.
Studies conducted by Consumer Reports corroborate the staggering rise in numbers.
In 2011, Consumer Reports reported 1.5% of high school students were documented as using e-cigarettes. In contrast, last fall in 2018, numbers showed an exponential increase with 3.05 million high school students using e-cig products.
Quite a big jump.
And it’s interesting to note that Juul, the e-cig company who estalished their business offices in San Francisco in 2017, is the most popular brand on the market today. Especially with younger smokers.
The advertising of e-cigarettes, e-cig flavor pods and cartridges is relentless. Products are frequently advertised in retail ads, Internet sites, movie theaters, newspapers, magazines, and social media. And, even though ads are supposed to be directed to adults, the commercials appeal to young teens.
For young smokers, e-cigarettes are more attractive.
One ad touts that e-cigs may help adults stop smoking nicotine cigarettes. It alludes to e-cigarettes being less harmful.
Last fall the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advised of an “epidemic” among teens who use flavored e-cigarettes. Unfortunately, the FDA is not in any hurry to implement change because under their most recent ruling, flavored e-cig products will remain marketable until 2022.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse says teens are 33% more likely to start smoking e-cigarettes versus regular cigarettes.
In Missouri, kids under age 18 are prohibited from possessing or buying vapor products; however, Missouri’s statute doesn’t specifically identify electronic cigarettes in the definition of tobacco products.
Referencing the city’s ban on e-cigarettes, San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera said “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.”
Hence, the scapegoat for San Francisco’s new law –– lack of FDA approval.
But, e-cigarettes have also been shown to be dangerous and harmful.
The medical community supports evidence that discloses e-cigarette vapor as harmful. Tests have shown it increases the risks for cardiovascular and cancer issues.
In addition to damaging health, malfunctioning e-cigs have been caught on video exploding in the user’s pocket. Burning the smoker’s hand, or exploding near the user’s face.
These incidents have appeared on mainstream news programs.
Nonetheless, whether the choice is regular cigarettes or e-cigarettes, both products have negatives that impact health. Nicotine is addictive and linked to stroke and heart disease. E-cigs are addictive and linked to the inhalation of unsafe heavy metals and cancer-infused liquid vapors (chemicals).
For years, many of us watched Johnny Carson, Humphrey Bogart, Dean Martin, and many other famous individuals smoke tobacco cigarettes on television programs, and on glamorous movie sets.
It was stylish. Cosmopolitan.
During the early years, health risks associated with tobacco were virtually unknown.
Today, San Francisco has taken a bold step to protect the health and well-being of teens in their city. No doubt this new law will face obstacles, especially since San Francisco is the first to endorse a ban.
Let’s hope it works and inspires others to find the backbone to follow their lead –– for the sake of kids and everyone else.
So history does not repeat.