Earlier in the year, San Francisco announced that it was planning to ban the sale of e-cigarettes until the devices had been properly investigated by the FDA, following reports over their potential safety or health issues.
This ban has now been put in place, making the city the first in the US to ban e-cigarettes altogether, or at least until the health effects of them are clearer.
The ban applies to all stores in the city. It also makes it illegal for online retailers to make sales to anyone with an address there. The mayor now has ten days to sign off the law, which would be enforced in seven months, providing there aren’t any legal challenges.
The FDA is currently looking at the safety of e-cigarettes in an investigation. Manufacturers, including San Francisco based Juul, which is the most popular brand, have been accused of targeting teenagers in their marketing practices.
However, Juul argues that the devices are aimed at adult smokers trying to quit smoking. Studies have shown that e-cigarettes are less dangerous than regular cigarettes, as they don’t burn and the user isn’t exposed to many of the dangerous toxins found in tobacco.
According to Kenneth Warner, a tobacco policy researcher at the University of Michigan, “the worst critics of e-cigarettes would probably argue they’re a half to two-thirds less dangerous. But from a practical view, they’re probably on the order of 80% to 85% less dangerous, at least.”
The FDA issued new guidelines earlier in the year, which gives manufacturers until 2021 to apply to have their products re-evaluated for safety purposes, which was prompted by a rise in the number of teenagers vaping.
Juul is the most popular e-cigarette brand in the US. The company said in a statement: “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?”