San Francisco went full circle by proposing an ordinance to prevent local manufacturers and retailers from selling all flavored tobacco products. Is yet another battle between government and retailers on the horizon?
No more flavored vaping in San Francisco
On June 20th of the current year, San Francisco approved an amendment to its existing law. The effective law prohibits the manufacture of flavored cigarettes other than menthol and tobacco. The addition proposes a ban on sales of all flavored tobacco products. However, it seems that the ban is rather focusing on e-cigarettes than actual hazardousness of smoking, similar to many other laws regarding the matter.
What concerned SF legislators the most is the effect vaping has on teens. Hence the law declares that “flavored tobacco products promote youth initiation of tobacco use and help occasional young smokers to become daily smokers by reducing or masking the natural harshness and taste of tobacco smoke and thereby increasing the appeal of tobacco products.”
Vaping and smoking equated once again
Addiction is a problematic condition, and we should approach it with a sensitive strategy, especially among teens. Recent statistics show that teens are indeed more prone to consume e-cigarettes than any other tobacco related product. Among all of these, e-cigs are the least harmful, as they do not even have to contain nicotine necessarily.
However, the law fails to differ vaping from smoking, by using the same noun – smokers – for tobacco product users. This kind of rhetoric is hazardous, given the fact that the official governmental body that people would entrust by default is emitting it. Vaping does not produce smoke, but a vapor, and as such does not initiate the harm of tobacco combustion.
Insensitive, or not?
Once again, retailers have their response. “Personally I am absolutely against flavors like bubble gum or pink elephant or strawberry delicious because I think the name itself sends the wrong message, but the adult looking for a less harmful alternative is not looking for these products ” CEO of Tobacco Vapor Electronic Cigarette Association, Ray Story, stated.
As such, the new proposal seems to appear as insensitive, as in there is a vulnerable group being affected by it for the sake of another vulnerable group. Wouldn’t it be better if we fight smoking completely, and then work on reducing other harms without introducing the laws that somehow always end up damaging someone?
As of April 1st, 2018, if you are going to San Francisco, you should not use any flavor in your vape.