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San Francisco Becomes First U.S. City to Ban E-Cig Sales

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Written by Alexandra Hicks

In a completely unprecedented move, San Francisco is set to become the first city in the United States to ban the sales of e-cigarettes. Will others follow in their footsteps?

According to the new ordinance, which was unanimously passed by the city’s board of supervisors, “no person shall sell or distribute an electronic cigarette to a person in San Francisco”. There is one exception and that’s if the product has been reviewed and approved by the U.S. Food and Drug administration, which has yet to happen.

San Francisco’s mayor, London Breed, still has until July 5th to sign off on it but she already indicated that she’s going to. 30 days after that happens, it will become an effective policy which will be fully implemented after another 6 months.

This will make San Francisco the first city in the entire country to enact such a law. And it doesn’t apply just to store fronts and other in-person sales, but online sales to any zip code within the city will also be prohibited. This ban applies to all e-cig devices as well as flavored tobacco additives. People aged 21 years and older are still allowed to use vape pens, they just won’t be able to purchase them locally.

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Juul Labs is headquartered in San Francisco

This comes on the heels of a recent FDA press release that stated that have 35 cases of people reporting seizures after using certain e-liquid flavors. “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,” said Breed in a statement to CNN. We need to take action to protect the health of San Francisco’s youth and prevent the next generation of San Franciscans from becoming addicted to these products.”

What makes this new ordinance particularly controversial is that Juul Labs, makers of one of the most popular e-cigs on the market, is headquartered in San Francisco. Needless to say, the company was not pleased. They had this to say:

Juul spokesman Ted Kwong told CNN, “this full prohibition will drive former adult smokers who successfully switched to vapor products back to deadly cigarettes, deny the opportunity to switch for current adult smokers, and create a thriving black market instead of addressing the actual causes of underage access and use.”

Juul submitted a proposal to change the oridance and has already amassed the signatures need to push forward with it.

How this plays out in the end is anyone’s guess. Likely it will lead to a long, drawn out battle between the authors of the new law and Juul Labs. Subscribe to our business newsletter for more updates.

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About the author

Alexandra Hicks

Managing editor at Cannadelics and U.S based journalist, helping spread the word about the many benefits of using cannabis and psychedelics.