Vapers in San Francisco have a good reason to vote in their upcoming local elections. After the City Council tried to outlaw flavored e-liquid and tobacco products last year, citizens will have an opportunity to vote on whether or not the ban will stand. Ironically, the political kerfuffle has led to an unlikely alliance between the vaping industry, big tobacco companies and immigrant business owners.
San Fran to Ban Flavored E-Liquids
In 2017, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to outlaw the sale of all flavored tobacco products, including flavored e-liquid and e-cigarettes. Even menthol cigarettes could soon be illegal within city limits.
Before the law could even be implemented, advocacy groups collected more than enough signatures to force a referendum vote, which is to be held this June. The effort was spearheaded by R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., which spent well over $680,000 promoting the petition. Other supporters of the referendum include e-cig manufacturers and the Arab American Grocers Association, a coalition of immigrant shop owners who fear that the new laws could damage their businesses.
In addition to the negative impact it could have on small businesses in minority communities, the ban may also have a racial component considering the popularity of menthol products among African Americans. On the other hand, the ban’s supporters argue that some companies use flavored tobacco products and e-juices to intentionally target kids and minorities.
Vote NO on E!
The future of the flavor ban will be decided in a few months when vapers and smokers have an opportunity to vote against Proposition E. There’s now speculation that the city council could lift the ban before then to avoid further public backlash. Then again, politicians who are on the ballot could make it a wedge issue.
If voters in San Francisco reject Proposition E, then we will likely see more challenges to such ordinances. However, given that Oakland, Sonoma and Contra Costa County have already adopted similar laws, vapers may have an uphill battle ahead of them.
Oakland Takes a Similar Stance on Flavored E-Liquid
Unlike the San Francisco law, the “Oakland Children Smoking Prevention Ordinance” provides an exception for “tobacco stores” that derive more than 60 percent of their revenues from tobacco sales. Unfortunately, vape shops will get no such reprieve, so a flavored e-liquid ban would still kill many small businesses. While the ban’s proponents think that’s a good thing, e-cig advocate Stefan Didak says the ordinance “takes away the option of less harmful vapor products and wipes out a decade of progress in curbing smoking.”
“Vapor products and electronic cigarettes should have never been included in this ordinance,” Didak recently told the East Bay Times. Indeed, even some health care professionals are worried that a flavored e-liquid ban could turn some vapers back into smokers.
Get Your Favorite E-Liquid Flavors From White Cloud
The future of vaping in San Francisco is unclear, but White Cloud will continue selling our full variety of e-liquids as long as it remains legal across the country. That said, now might be an ideal time for vapers in the Bay Area to stock up on their favorite e-juices.