After San Francisco legislators approved an ordinance banning the sale of flavored tobacco and e-liquid alike, city residents were quick to band together to protect their cherished vape liquids.
The city by the bay’s Board of Supervisors banned flavored e-juices along with flavored tobacco, with the exception of menthol flavored cigarettes, from being sold within the city limits in the summer of 2017. Then, months later in August, the city’s Department of Elections indicated that the “Let’s Be Real San Francisco” committee had obtained the necessary signatures for their petition to repeal the ban to be added to the ballot, leaving the decision in the hands of the Board of Supervisors.
If the board decides to refrain from repealing the ban, which could very well be the case, voters will ultimately decide the fate of the ban in June of 2018 when the next city election is scheduled to take place.
CBS SF reported that the committee obtained just under 20,000 verified signatures.
Just who is the committee behind the repeal and who’s funding them? By CBS SF’s account, the committee is almost entirely funded by none other than R.J. Reynolds, the tobacco giant behind the Vuse brand of electronic cigarettes. As for their composition, the news outlet reports that the committee includes the National Association of Tobacco Outlets as well as a number of vape companies and the Arab American Grocers Association.
For reference, the ban also includes flavored shisha, which is commonly smoked out of a hookah.
In June of 2016, California raised its age requirement for tobacco purchases, increasing the mandatory minimum age from 18 to 21. California Governor Jerry Brown indicated around the time that the measure would also place vaping products under the same regulations as tobacco products, CNN reported.
Strangely, while the ban prevents the sale of flavored vaping and smoking products, with the exclusion of menthol flavored products, it does not ban the city’s many residents from buying such products online or through delivery services that exist outside of the city’s limits.
As for how much money is potentially at stake in flavored vaping and tobacco product sales, the city’s Controller Office issued a report in which it estimated that the city’s smokers likely spent somewhere around $50 million on an annual basis buying flavored cigarettes. Exactly how much of that money is spent within the confines of the city itself was a figure that the office was unable to determine, CBS San Francisco reported.