The city of San Francisco recently passed a local measure effectively creating a vaping ban that outlaws the sale of flavored vape juice products. In the wake of controversy over the prevalent use of the popular Juul Vapor ecig by teen, the Bay Area hub moved to ban vape flavors from retail shelves.
With the next session of the Food and Drug Administration set to meet on the topic of electronic cigarettes in 2022, and vapers unsure of whether the topic of a vape flavor ban will be on the table, cities like San Francisco are moving to create protections on a local level. Proposition E, which effectively banned the sale of flavored tobacco and ejuice in the city, went into effect just ten days after it was voted into the local books. It seems like a hasty push to get at what they believe to be the root of teen vaping and smoking, however, with a 13-million-dollar campaign against the measure launched by Big Tobacco giant R.J. Reynolds creating community pushback, it paints them as the primary target of the law.
R.J. Reynolds owns popular brand Newport, the nation’s top selling menthol cigarette being attributed with the responsibility in helping to move the flavored tobacco ban proposition forward. Their massive propaganda campaign against the measure, essentially antagonized legislators as well as the communities. It’s worth noting that San Francisco is a hub for some of the world’s largest advertising agencies, a population not likely to fall victim to the trappings of a slick media barrage attempting to sway their feelings. Additionally, vaping is very much a cottage industry of small entrepreneurs and local businesses, it is likely that the biggest accomplishment of this vape ban would be to drive ecigarette users toward making their purchases online, in nearby communities such as Oakland, or simply right back into the waiting arms of the tobacco industry.
Measure E Seemed Entirely About Banning Vaping
San Francisco has been at the forefront of the tobacco debate for some time, even offering a dollar-per-pound cigarette butt recycling program to help cut down on their tobacco-related litter. However, what they failed to acknowledge was, if a city has a cigarette-related litter problem, the easiest way to regulate it, would be to encourage users to take up vaping, which creates minimal waste by comparison and essentially removes the possibility for garbage and littering on the behalf of nicotine users. This is yet another way in which this vaping ban seems to single out ecig users specifically.
In the wake of locally-based Juul Labs appearing at the center of a teen smoking scandal, it’s not surprising that the city of San Francisco in Northern California took action. What is shocking however, is a ban on vape flavors that appears to be complicit in cooperating with Big Tobacco, a move that seems contrary to their past anti-cigarette stance. While those who make the switch to vaping see the infinite value in its environmental impact as well as monetary impact on local business, it is clear that San Francisco is less concerned about their existing smokers and claims to be looking to prevent future generations from falling victim to propaganda and the hold of tobacco companies.
That said, if you were to conduct a controlled study of teen smoking in the city following the flavor ban, the results may not yield the data they expect. Legislators argue that flavors are designed to attract younger users to products that are harmful, however, the question no one is asking is, why would young people opt for flavored tobacco products and not just buy candy, or fruit flavored drinks or the actual products that government officials argue are especially attractive to them.
San Francisco Vape Ban Is A Double Standard
Vaping products are created, designed and intended for use by adults, claiming otherwise is making an argument that adults don’t eat candy or foods with tasty flavors, it’s insane. With alcoholic beverages like Not Your Father’s Root Beer and Twisted Tea not experiencing the same backlash, it’s difficult to understand why this recent ban of vaping products has been given such a high priority. No lawmaker is talking about how the flavors of these products appeal to teens, and yet other cities are poised to follow the lead of San Francisco at the cusp of banning flavored vape juice as well.
Back in 2009, Congress effectively banned flavored tobacco products other than menthol and handed over the regulation of all tobacco products (including vape juice as a result of the deeming rule) to the Food and Drug Administration. The result It’s clear the government is making a considerable effort to break American citizens from smoking, however, there is a question of rights that are being denied as a result. In fact, what began as cities and states attempting to protect their service workforce from the effects of smoking by banning smoking from restaurants and bars has evolved into entire cities pushing for smoke free status, which as of recently has come to include vaping bans.
Vaping Ban Is What Big Tobacco Is Banking On
Although there is no direct link between the rise of underage vaping on the whole and the availability of flavors, they claim the correlation is undeniable given the effect the original flavored cigarette ban had back in 2009, even though it was not studied specifically in its impact on underage use. In the meantime, San Francisco has opted to punish the vaping community rather than irresponsible retailers who allow flavored tobacco products and eliquid to reach the hands of underage users. It is yet another step in pushing for government agencies to effectively police and parent society regardless of their legal rights and access to products as vapers under the law.
The looming power of big tobacco barons like R.J. Reynolds effectively driving vapers back to their own products is a coup of meticulous design, created specifically to present former smokers no recourse other than to pick up tobacco when they run out of ejuice and without immediate access. As of now, vapers are still able to get their vaping supplies online, however, how long until regulators cut that pipeline off as well is unclear. Until then, its important to open a dialogue with government officials and make sure they understand why vaping is valuable to their community. As for the city of San Francisco, I hope they’re prepared for the resulting influx of cigarette butt litter by legal users and underage smokers alike.