The Hill

San Francisco Becomes First City To Ban E-Cigarettes In US

San Francisco is the first city in the U.S. to approve a ban on the sale of e-cigarettes in an effort to help reduce the use of nicotine-based devices by teenagers. Officials also agreed to restrict online retailers from delivering any of the products to addresses in the city.

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to implement the ordinance. Officials said the ban will stay in effect until the U.S. Food and Drug Administration provides a clear definition of the health effects of e-cigarettes. 

Mayor London Breed has yet to sign the legislation but already expressed interest in approving it, the BBC first reported. Once signed, officials are expected to begin enforcing the law seven months from Breed’s confirmation. 

San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera, who led the proposal to ban e-cigarettes, said it is necessary as young people have become addicted to nicotine due to the device. 

"This lack of clarity is causing tremendous confusion at the same time that a whole new generation of young people are getting addicted to nicotine," he told Reuters. "The explosion in youth use and the health risks to young people are undeniable." 

Estimates from the government in 2018 showed that e-cigarette use among U.S. high schoolers increased by 78 percent. Critics said that vaping can eventually encourage young people to try cigarettes.

The claim was backed by data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which reported last year that the number of teenagers in the country using nicotine products grew by nearly 36 percent. The CDC said the increase was associated to the use of e-cigarettes.

Move Against E-Cigarettes Ban

San Francisco is home to Juul Labs, a major e-cigarette manufacturer in the U.S. The company said the ban would only encourage people to return to tobacco and potentially "create a thriving black market" for vapes. 

"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,” Ted Kwong, a spokesman for Juul, said. 

"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," he added. 

The FDA released guidelines in early 2019 for companies to have their e-cigarette products evaluated until 2021.

vape The medical community continues to conduct studies to understand how e-cigars or vaping could affect the body. Pixabay