While some criticize the move for being too harsh, others have applauded it and called for other cities to follow suit.
You don’t need to have been vaping for a long time to be well aware of vaping regulations. It seems like every few weeks, a new law is popping up somewhere, which is designed to severely hamper the growth of these harm reduction and smoking cessation tools.
It’s a real shame that so many leaders decided to take the easy way out and merely equate vaping and smoking in their regulations; even worse is places which have moved forward with vaping regulations that are more restrictive than the smoking laws.
San Francisco has been the worst offender in America, proving over and over they’re no friend to the vaping industry. After implementing the nation’s strictest flavor ban last year, they recently passed a bill which makes it illegal to make or sell vaping products in the city, both in-store and online.
Juul Labs is directly affected by this law, as it prevents them from expanding in the city where their headquarters is located. That said, it won’t be able to force them out entirely, and they’re already backing plans to stop this new law before it ever takes effect.
A Bitter Battle
It hasn’t taken San Francisco all that long to earn a reputation as no friend of the vaping industry. Last year voters in the city passed the nation’s strictest e-liquid flavor ban in a landslide victory. However, as bad as that was, this latest change could make everything much worse. The city’s Board of Supervisors voted unanimously recently to ban the sale of vaping products across the city.
While the new law does not technically kick Juul Labs out of the city, many experts agree the move is designed to make keeping their headquarters there not viable moving forward. In addition to banning the sale of e-cigarettes, the law also prohibits the manufacture and distribution as well.
Those pushing back against the law have focused in on the misguided logic. They argue against any plan which seeks to restrict vaping much more harshly than smoking, especially given all the evidence we now have in support of e-cigarettes.
The rapidly growing company isn’t taking this news lying down, as they’ve already announced that they’re backing a ballot initiative aimed at stopping this law before it takes effect. The plan is led by the Coalition for Reasonable Vaping Regulation, who have already gathered over 20,000 signatures in support of adding their initiative to this year’s ballot.
It’s a real shame that the leaders in San Francisco are more concerned with how they look than the actual peer-reviewed evidence. Vaping still requires plenty of research before we know everything, but we still know a lot about their value.
Co-author of the new bill, Supervisor Shamann Walton, seems to have forgotten to look into the evidence for himself, as he recently suggested the differences between vaping and smoking are primarily about “trading one nicotine addiction for another.”However, the vast majority of experts now agree that while not harmless, vaping is undoubtedly safer than continued smoking.
In fact, we’ve known for nearly five years that vaping is at least 95% safer than smoking. Recent reports out of Roswell Park Institute concluded that the toxicants in e-liquid vapor are around 93% lower than in cigarette smoke, while a report from the Journal of Aerosol Sciences found the excess lifetime cancer risk of a smoker is about 57,000 times higher than a demographically similar vaper.
Even worse, San Francisco has already handed a massive advantage to Big Tobacco with their recent flavor ban, according to research by Yale Professor, Dr. John Buckell.
If this law ends up enforced, it will be a massive step back for the entire vaping industry. Not only would it dramatically affect the lives of vapers in the city, but the ripple effect elsewhere could be huge.
Failing to stop this precedent before it starts could be looked back on as one of the biggest mistakes we ever made as a community. After all, the more people who understand the differences, the easier it is to protect and vice versa.
The best thing we can do is work together to ensure there’s no question what vaping has meant for us and other former smokers. We simply need more people to get on board with the many harm reduction and smoking cessation benefits of vaping. The more support we gather, the easier the fight becomes.
What do you think about San Francisco’s plan to ban vaping sales? How should we work to protect the vaping industry? What do you think is the best way to illustrate the difference between vaping and smoking? 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.