As the FDA continues to investigate the safety of e-cigarettes, San Francisco has announced that it plans to ban them until they have been properly evaluated.
The current FDA guidelines have given manufacturers until 2021 to have their products evaluated. The original deadline was 2018; however, the agency has extended the deadline as they say more time is needed to make a proper analysis.
San Francisco, alongside Chicago and New York, has sent a letter to the FDA urging an investigation to take place into the health effects of e-cigarettes, both to individuals and to public health.
One of the biggest concerns that’s been raised by anti-vaping campaigners in recent years is that companies are deliberately targeting young people with flavoured products. They say that this has led to an increase in the number of teenagers taking up vaping.
According to the CDC, the number of young people in the US who used tobacco products in the last month increased by 36% between 2017 and 2018. Activists blame e-cigarettes for the rise in teenagers using tobacco products.
The FDA recently made new proposals to bring down the number of teenagers vaping, And last year, San Francisco was the first city in the US to ban flavoured vaping liquids and flavoured tobacco products in a bid to reduce the numbers.
Critics of the ban say that e-cigarettes are not aimed at young people, and a simply a tool to help smokers to quit. Studies have shown they are less harmful than cigarettes and should be used as a harm reduction tool.
In a statement, e-cigarette manufacturer Juul asked: “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?”
However, San Francisco city attorney Dennis Herrera, one of the co-authors of the bill argued: “These companies may hide behind the veneer of harm reduction, but let’s be clear, their product is addiction.”
He added: San Francisco has never been afraid to lead and we’re certainly not afraid to do so when the health and lives of our children are at stake. E-cigarettes have wiped out the hard-fought gains we have made in curbing youth tobacco use. Today we are taking action to protect our kids.”