San Francisco will soon ban the sales of vaping products and e-cigarettes following a unanimous approval of the bill from the city's Board of Supervisors. The measure should control the use of tobacco products among youths.
Supervisor Malia Cohen introduced the legislation, which prohibits the sales of flavored tobacco products, which include menthol cigarettes, flavored liquids used for vaping or in e-cigarettes, and flavored chewing tobacco. Sales of non-flavored tobacco products will still be permitted.
The city board will start voting on the ban next week, CNN reports. The legislation will come into full effect, if passed, in April, 2018. San Francisco will be the first in the nation to impose the ban on sales of flavored tobacco products.
The ordinance argues that flavored tobacco products, like e-cigarettes, entice youth to start smoking early. Menthol products, on the other hand, bring a cooling and numbing sensation to the throat, which makes it appealing to young consumers.
Small Business Commission, which represents small businesses, may see the city's intent to curb smoking in youths, but e-cigarettes and other flavored tobacco products can still be acquired through online purchase. Online sales of these products are not included in the ban.
Retailers have aired their business concerns, but according to the bill's primary sponsor, Supervisor Malia Cohen, there should be an increase in the city's funds to help small retailers transition to a healthier program. The bill was originally set to go into effect on Jan. 1, but Cohen had moved to April, 2018, to address concerns.
"We want to enhance our prevention strategies," Cohen told the San Francisco Examiner.
"The goal of this ordinance is to keep people from smoking in the first place."
Tobacco Vapor Electronic Cigarette CEO Ray Story, however, thinks the new bill is "extremely irresponsible." Story told CNN it is reasonable to get rid of the packaging and vaping flavors, but banning the sale is unnecessary. Story believes vaping reduces harm and helps curb the use and negative effects of drugs for those who can't or won't stop smoking.
Out of all the different forms of tobacco, e-cigarettes are now the most commonly used among youngsters in the U.S. The new legislation may ban the sales of the products, but it will not prohibit people in the city from using them. Retailers who will continue to sell vaping products and other flavored tobacco products could have their tobacco sales permit suspended.
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