SF Becomes 1st City to Ban E-Cigarette Sales Completely
In March of this year, San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera and District 10 Supervisor Shamann Walton proposed legislation that would ban the sale of e-cigarettes in the city and prohibit e-cigarette companies like Juul from occupying city-owned property in the future.
This week, City Supervisors voted 11-0 in favor of the ban, but a second and final vote to approve the legislation is expected next week. It would go into effect after six months (Jan/Feb 2020). This would make San Francisco the first city in America to ban the sale of e-cigarettes completely.
Walton told reporters back in March that the proposed legislation should also serve as a warning and statement to Juul that “we don’t want them in our city,” he continued, “I don’t eventually want to see them leave this city,” he said. “I would have liked for them to have been gone yesterday.”
The city already banned flavored e-cigarettes last year (nicotine-infused flavors like ‘cucumber’, ‘red bull’, ‘creme’ ect.) claiming that they were marketed to teenagers and children. ‘Vaping’ exploded in high schools across the nation in 2018, exposing nicotine addiction to teens in a very slick, easy to hide, package. Juul vapes are the size of USB drives, you can even charge them by plugging them into your laptop. Armed with its big tobacco dollars, Juul sought to take over the vaping market and it largely succeeded in 2018 and 2019.
“These companies may hide behind the veneer of harm reduction, but let’s be clear, their product is addiction,” City Attorney Dennis Herrera said. “They’re in the business of getting people addicted, or keeping them addicted.”
Supervisor Walton’s district includes the pier 70 where Juul is headquartered in the city. It also includes Hunters Point and Excelsior where he’s seen many, many young students use to the new vapes.
In 2018 the biggest tobacco cigarette distributor in the US (called ‘Atria’ formerly of Phillip Morris) dumped an investment worth $12.8 billion into Juul, effectively controlling 35% of the e-cigarette company. Big tobacco has been in steady decline in the US, (given that their product slowly kills its customers). So they’re replacing their lost tobacco revenue with e-cigarettes.
Juul meanwhile, despite the aggressive legislation directed at them, doubled down in San Francisco in a big way. They bought a big 28-story office tower at 123 Market st. this week. Just a couple blocks for the Ferry Building. And you can bet they will put big money behind the ballot to fight any ban on their products, because this kind of legislation, if successful, has a habit of spreading to other cities.