People all over the world have turned to e-cigarettes in a bid to help them quit smoking, or even as a ‘healthy’ alternative to feed their nicotine habit.
But while the vaping trend continues to grow, San Francisco has taken a U-turn on the cigarette replacement by becoming the first US city to ban the sale of e-cigarettes until their health effects are clearer.
On Tuesday officials voted to ban stores from selling vaporisers, also making it illegal for online retailers for deliver to addresses in the city.
It’s unlikely the new law will be welcomed by everyone though, considering the city is home to Juul Labs, the most popular e-cigarette producer in the US.
The brand has said the banning of e-cigs in the city would just drive smokers back to cigarettes and ‘create a thriving black market,’ BBC News reports.
San Francisco’s mayor London Breed has 10 days to sign off the legislation for the law to come into effect, however she has already indicated she has every intention in doing so. It would be another seven months before the law would come into practice, but it’s expected firms could start a legal challenge against the new legislation.
Anti-vapers say the products are purposefully targeted at young people by offering flavoured products. Critics say more scientific investigation is needed to uncover any potential health impact and some even argue vaping encourages young people to smoke.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has suggested companies should have until 2021 to apply to have their e-cigarette products evaluated.
A deadline was originally set for August 2018, but the agency decided companies needed longer to prepare.
San Francisco’s city attorney, Dennis Herrera campaigned for the e-cig ban, saying it was necessary because of an ‘abdication of responsibility’ by the FDA in regulating the vaporisers.
The number of US teenagers who admitted using nicotine products rose by 36 per cent, according to the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, which the body attributes to e-cigarette use.
The minimum age to buy tobacco products is 18 according to federal law in the US, however in California and several other states the minimum age is 21.
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Emma Rosemurgey is an NCTJ trained Journalist who started her career by producing The Royal Rosemurgey newspaper in 2004, which kept her family up to date with the goings on of her sleepy north east village. She graduated from the University of Central Lancashire in Preston and started her career in regional newspapers before joining Tyla (formerly Pretty 52) in 2017, and progressing onto UNILAD in 2019.