San Francisco Just Banned E-Cigarettes – What You Need To Know

Published on June 21, 2019

The battle against e-cigarettes has been going on for some time now as companies like Juul have been accused of marketing toward teen audiences. The Food and Drug Administration has been in a longstanding battle against e-cigarette companies. First, it wanted to crack down on the online sale of the products, citing that it made it far too easy for minors to get ahold of the addictive products. Now, San Francisco has taken a stand against the products in an effort to draw attention to the near-epidemic that faces American youth.

What’s The Deal With E-Cigarettes, Anyway?

Electronic cigarettes were introduced as a way to help smokers give up cigarettes while slowly weaning themselves off of nicotine. The major benefit of an e-cigarette was that it would allow a smoker to keep all of the psychologically addictive aspects of smoking—such as the oral fixation and act itself—without the negative health risks. Electronic cigarettes were marketed as somewhat healthy, providing an escape route for smokers that are addicted to nicotine. Plus, they smelled better than traditional cigarettes, offering flavors like cotton candy, chocolate, or even cake.

Over time, electronic cigarette technology changed, allowing the products to become more sleek and visually appealing. Products like the Juul, which look like nothing more than a USB stick, offered a sleek and easy smoking alternative that was just as easy to buy as gas for your car. Juul quickly got in trouble for its ease of purchase. Minors were able to buy the products online and have them delivered directly to their doors. Parents, unaware of the difference between a USB stick and the Juul, were often unaware their kids were purchasing e-cigarettes online.

Electronic cigarette usage quickly got out of hand. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) surveyed that tobacco and tobacco product usage was up by 75% in just one year. In response, the Food and Drug Administration opted to change the laws surrounding how electronic cigarettes could be sold. The products could no longer be sold online if they contained nicotine. Still, that was not enough to combat the growing crisis.

San Francisco Bans E-Cigarettes

Beverly Hills recently decided to ban tobacco products altogether. Now, the city of San Francisco voted unanimously in a decision to ban electronic cigarettes. The ban would make it illegal for the products to be delivered or sold within its limits. The city has only banned the products until they get approved by the Food and Drug Administration, if at all. If electronic cigarette companies are unable to persuade the FDA to approve their products, San Francisco will maintain the ban. The city hopes that this new law will send a message to the FDA as well as e-cigarette makers.

The law still has to go through a couple of city officials and be signed in by the mayor. Only then will it go into effect seven months after it gets signed in. However, the city of San Francisco feels that the decision will benefit the health of its youth. City officials believe that other cities should follow in its path in order to send a clear message. That message: to make health a priority.

Julia Sachs is a former Managing Editor at Grit Daily. She covers technology, social media and disinformation. She is based in Utah and before the pandemic she liked to travel.

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