San Francisco, a city that used to be a bastion of personal freedom, has banned flavored e-liquid, which almost certainly will doom many smokers to early deaths. It is very unlikely that vape shops in the city will survive the ban, which takes effect next April.
The city’s Board of Supervisors passed an ordinance prohibiting sales of all flavored “tobacco products” Tuesday, almost immediately after the law was recommended by the public safety committee. The new law also bans flavored cigars and menthol cigarettes.
The law was opposed by the vaping community, and also by owners of convenience stores in the city, and was pushed by the state’s powerful tobacco control industry, which is centered in the Bay Area. University of California-San Francisco professor and anti-nicotine zealot Stanton Glantz, was standing next to supervisor Malia Cohen as she announced the ban in April.
“San Francisco has done a shameful thing,” wrote CASAA CEO Alex Clark. “Rather than consider innovative new ways to address the disease and early death attributed to smoking, San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors has, instead, opted to experiment on their constituents with an untested policy.”
Indeed, there is no evidence in the world showing that restricting the availability of vapor products (or low-risk tobacco products like snus) in any way benefits public health. “This was purely an emotional decision,” Clark wrote.
The ban is one in a series of similar laws recently proposed in the San Francisco Bay Area. And it almost certainly won’t stop there. Vapers should expect the idea of “saving youth from a lifetime of nicotine addiction” by banning sales of e-cigarettes with supposedly teen-oriented flavors to pick up steam and spread around the country.
“We are not looking to put small stores out of business,” supervisor Malia Cohen said at the board hearing. “We want to help them make this transition from selling a poisonous commodity to selling something that will benefit the neighborhood.”
But banning vapor products doesn’t benefit the city — unless protecting cigarette sales from competition is what the supervisors want. They have foolishly bought into the narrative of nicotine prohibitionists like Glantz, and the result will be more misery caused by smoking, not less. Their nicotine abstinence policy should be no more acceptable to San Francisco residents than a policy banning condom sales to prevent the spread of AIDS.
With less than a year before the ban is put into place, vapers should take action now. Use the CASAA link to send a pre-written letter to the supervisors, or personalize the letter. It just takes seconds, and we can help San Francisco vapers keep the products that are improving and saving their lives.