San Francisco becomes 1st major USA city to ban e-cigarettes

A man using a Juul e-cigarette. Juul’s creators also created Pax a startup that makes marijuana vaporizers

A man using a Juul e-cigarette. Juul’s creators also created Pax a startup that makes marijuana vaporizers

E-cigarettes have been officially banned in San Francisco as it becomes the first city in the United States to do so.

"It protects (e-cigarettes) from further regulation, at least by the elected representatives in the city", Andrew Twinamatsiko, an attorney with the Public Health Law Center at Mitchell Hamline School of Law, told the San Francisco Chronicle. What's more interesting, however, is San Fran's ban on e-cigarettes is backdropped by the biggest e-cigarette producer in the country, Juul Labs, having its headquarters in San Francisco.

Without a long history of massive settlements and aggressive legislation, e-cigarettes lack the strict regulatory framework that governs how traditional tobacco products are manufactured, marketed, and sold.

San Francisco's mayor has indicated that she will sign off on the new law, which will come into force seven months after she does.

But the move triggered a swift backlash from critics who say it could drive former smokers back to conventional cigarettes. If the measure passes, it could supersede the new ordinance, re-opening the city to e-cigarette sales.

Vaping has negative effects on health, particularly that of young people. E-cigarettes are a product that, by law, are not allowed on the market without FDA review.

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"There is so much we don't know about the health impacts of these products, but we do know that e-cigarette companies are targeting our kids in their advertising and getting them hooked on addictive nicotine products", San Francisco mayor London Breed said in a statement. "If the federal government is not going to act, San Francisco will".

"This is a decisive step to help prevent another generation of San Francisco children from becoming addicted to nicotine", he said.

Traditional "Big Tobacco" companies have increasingly marketed "smoke-free" products like e-cigarettes as far less harmful alternatives to the deadly habit they have always been peddling.

The San Francisco ordinance text said that nicotine exposure during adolescence "can harm the developing brain" and "can also increase risk for future addiction to other drugs".

Recreational cannabis use has been legal for adults in California since January previous year.

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