Ban Francisco: US health policy reverts to prohibition

City supervisors in San Francisco have voted in favour of a total ban on e-cigarettes, which will see the city become the first in the US to make such a move. Cigarettes and marijuana will remain legal to purchase.

Supervisors had previously voted unanimously for a ban and the confirmatory ballot took place on Tuesday night.

Praising the original vote, supervisor Ahsha Safai hoped that the rest of the state and country would ‘follow their lead’. Cigarettes currently kill 40,000 people in the state of California each year, but the harm-reducing benefits of vaping will no longer be available in San Francisco.

US policy on protecting young people continues to drift towards the criminalisation of all users.  San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera welcomes the move, describing e-cigarettes as products ‘that shouldn’t even be on the market’.

The UKVIA strongly supports measures to reduce youth vaping, as enshrined in our code of conduct. However, universal prohibition is not the answer, and leaves adult smokers without the options they need to make the switch from tobacco.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is currently conducting a study into vaping which is yet to conclude. The outcome is likely to be negative, as acting FDA commissioner Norman Sharpless has committed the administration to taking on the vaping industry.

Still, San Francisco is eager to act even before the report’s findings are published. The ban will completely remove vaping products from the shelves, as well as outlawing online purchases and manufacturing.

Thankfully, these trends are not seen in the UK, where the most recent evidence suggests no youth uptake in vaping. See the UKVIA statement in full here.