San Francisco to ban sales of vaping flavored liquid to fight addiction
City supervisors were saying nicotine masked in cotton candy, banana cream, mint and other flavors entices kids into a lifetime of addiction.
Other cities have passed laws reducing access to flavored vaping liquids and flavored tobacco but San Francisco is the first in the country to approve a sales ban, Olga Rodriguez writes.
Sales of vaping liquids that taste like tobacco will still be allowed
"We're focusing on flavored products because they are widely considered to be a starter product for future smokers," said Supervisor Malia Cohen, who sponsored the ordinance.
Chris Harihar, a spokesman for VMR Products, the largest independent vaporizer brand in the U.S, said he was not authorized to comment on Wednesday.
The measure requires another vote by the board next week, which is expected to pass. The law would take effect in April 2018.
Cohen, who represents the historically black Bayview-Hunters Point neighborhood, said tobacco companies advertise 10 times more in black neighborhoods and market candy and fruit flavored products to young people, the LGBTQ community and other minorities.
"For too many years, the tobacco industry has selectively targeted our young adults with products that are deceptively associated with fruits and mint and candy," said Cohen, whose grandmother smoked menthol cigarettes for years and died of emphysema.
"Menthol cools the throat so you don't feel the smoke and the irritants and it masks the flavors. This legislation is about saying enough is enough," she added.
Businesses that violate the law could have their city tobacco sales permits suspended.
Small business owners have said they will lose business because people can still buy the flavored "e-liquid" and tobacco products in neighboring cities or online and have them delivered to their San Francisco homes. ■