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San Francisco voters will decide on June 5 whether to ban menthol cigarettes, and other flavored tobacco products (including vaping e-liquid). Proposition E pits the city’s Board of Supervisors and a coalition of tobacco control groups against opponents from tobacco companies, local grocers and convenience stores, and vape shops and e-liquid manufacturers.
Tobacco stocks fell in April after a Citigroup analyst downgraded Marlboro-maker Altria, and Philip Morris International released a weak earnings report. CNBC analyst Jim Cramer summed it up in a Mad Money episode, saying the cigarette manufacturers were “bent, spindled and mutilated” by the threat posed by vaping rivals like JUUL.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Federal Trade Commission have jointly issued warnings to 13 vaping manufacturers, distributors, and retailers for marketing e-liquid with labels that resemble well-known food and candy products. The agencies say the e-liquids are a safety hazard because they could be mistaken by children for food or candy.
A federal court in Switzerland has overturned the country’s long-standing ban on nicotine-containing e-cigarettes and vapor products. Although the government was already planning to end the prohibition, the court decision allows retailers to now begin selling vaping products with nicotine immediately.
FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb announced actions that he says will prevent youth uptake of e-cigarettes, and hinted that more enforcement is on the way. Meanwhile the primary focus of the FDA effort, the popular vapor product JUUL, responded by largely agreeing with the FDA.