San Francisco is once again leading the charge against vaping, this time with a proposal which would ban in-store and online sales across the city.
Vaping is a complicated topic, but few parts garner as many different opinions as how to properly regulate it. Supporters point to piles of peer-reviewed evidence which indicates vaping is one of the best harm reduction and smoking cessation tools we have at our disposal. However, those concerned about vaping disregard that evidence and call into question the impact acceptance of vaping is having on our teens. This type of debate is even more complicated in the US, as different states and even cities are working to agree on the right path forward.
Unfortunately, some places have proven to be much worse than others. San Francisco, for example, has been one of the biggest enemies of the vaping industry, despite Juul Labs being headquartered there. After banning one of the strictest flavor bans in the country, city leaders now want to have an outright ban on e-cigarettes, both in-store and online. This drew immediate condemnation from the vaping industry, arguing such a ban is questionable at best, as it bans vaping while allowing proven deadly cigarettes to be still sold on store shelves.
Pushing The Boundaries
This new proposal was announced by city officials yesterday and seeks to ban all sales of vaping products in San Francisco. If passed, the ban would be the first of its kind in America, making it illegal even for adults to buy vaping products. City voters have already proven their support for overreaching vaping regulations after passing one of the nation’s strictest flavor bans last year. According to the release, this latest ban would continue at least until the FDA’s deeming rules come into effect, but some have questioned if this is actually just a ploy to force Juul Labs out of their city.
The San Francisco Supervisor who introduced the bill, Shamann Walton, also proposed a bill which would ban the manufacture and distribution of vaping products within city limits. This move was immediately blasted as plainly targeting Juul Labs, who has quickly grown into the world’s largest vaping company. But the city legislators aren’t trying to hide it. In fact, Walton even went on the record saying “we don’t want them in our city.” Meanwhile, Juul Labs and the vaping community at large have reacted to the news with serious concern. In an official response to the news, Juul Labs said, “This proposed legislation begs the question — why would the City be comfortable with combustible cigarettes being on shelves when we know they kill more than 480,000 Americans per year?”
Vaping Vs. Smoking
While San Francisco officials are busy trying to undermine a successful business legally operating in their city, they don’t seem compelled by the growing pile of peer-reviewed evidence proving the harm reduction and smoking cessation value of e-cigarettes. For starters, we’ve known since 2015 that vaping is at least 95% safer than smoking thanks to reports by Public Health England. These types of results haven’t slowed down either, as just a few months back we got another report which found cigarette smoke has 93% more toxicants than vaping. But for many, the value is evident when they hear the excess lifetime cancer risk of a vaper is around 57,000 times lower than a demographically similar smoker.
But what about the impact on teens? After all, that’s the most commonly referenced reason to reign in vaping. Many parents have become worried that acceptance of vaping will lead their non-smoking teens into a life of vaping, which will eventually blossom into full-blown smoking. Luckily the evidence we have on this topic isn’t nearly so grim. In fact, polls of over 60,000 students concluded only between 0.1% and 0.5% of non-smoking teens are ever picking up a vaporizer regularly, let alone converting into a smoker. At the same time, researchers have begun to believe vaping is actually the best smoking cessation tool we have, even more likely to succeed than prescription drugs.
Things are getting worse for vaping before they get better in a lot of places. San Francisco, in particular, has proven itself to be a terrible place for vapers. City leaders seem so concerned with stopping Juul they’re willing to ban a product shown to be safer than, and help people quit, cigarettes. Even crazier, they’re looking to ban vaping while leaving proven deadly cigarettes in stores. It should be clear that the more regulations we stand for, the more anti-vapers will want next time. That’s why we must stand united against the misinformation and fear-mongering surrounding vaping. If we genuinely want to end the smoking epidemic once and for all, we must work to gain more support for vaping now.
Are you surprised San Francisco is going this far? Do you think this move could lead to similar ones elsewhere? What’s the best way to support vaping moving forward? Let us know what you think in the comments, and don’t forget to check back here or join our Facebook and Twitter communities for more news and articles.