Wednesday, 6 June 2018

San Francisco Voters Uphold Ban on Flavored Vaping Products

Ban on Flavored

Despite a $12 million ad blizzard by an enormous tobacco company, voters in San Francisco resoundingly supported a replacement ban on the selling of flavored tobacco products, including vaping liquids packaged as candies and juice boxes, and menthol cigarettes.

The measure, referred to as Proposition E, is claimed to be the foremost restrictive within the country and health groups predicted it could function as a model for other communities.

The vote had been expected to be close, but the ultimate tally was 68 percent to 32 percent in support of the ban.

Those results reflected an enormous miscalculation by R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, which had saturated the town with multimedia ads in four languages, likening the ban on Prohibition and invoking a black market rise.

“They had a strategic chance there to point out that they're actually walking the walk and talking the mention moving smokers to a nonsmoker tobacco products,” said Eric Lindblom, a Georgetown Law professor, and former Food and Drug Administration tobacco official.

“Instead they took this scorched earth approach, trying to eliminate the whole flavor ban.

They failed and now other jurisdictions can say, ‘Why should we compromise?’”

Although using electronic cigarettes, or vaping, is touted as a way of smoking cessation, parents, public health advocates, and federal regulators have expressed deepening concern as some studies show that the products are gateways to smoking for teenagers.

E-cigarettes give users a strong hit of nicotine, but without the combination of poisons contained in traditional, combustible cigarettes.

Schools across the country have grown increasingly alarmed about the growing use of e-cigarettes among middle- and high school students, and a few are taking harsh disciplinary measures, including suspensions, to curtail it.

Dr. Melissa Welch, a spokeswoman for the American Heart Association, one among several national organizations that fought to uphold the ban said she hoped the San Francisco vote would be a primary step toward ending “the sale of candy-flavored tobacco before drug addiction claims a replacement generation of children .”

Proponents of the ban pointed to some 7,000 products, including those with flavors said to be particularly alluring to young users like chewing gum, chicken and waffles, and unicorn milk.

San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the ban last year.

It was to require effect in April. But R. J. Reynolds, which makes popular vaping products called Vuse, also as Newport menthol cigarettes, propelled the campaign to dam it by getting the initiative on Tuesday’s ballot.

Jacob McConnico, a spokesman for R. J. Reynolds, called the vote “a setback for tobacco harm reduction efforts because it removes from the market many potentially reduced risks alternatives.”

Nevertheless, he added, the corporate would urge federal officials to draft regulations to limit youths’ access to the products while “preserving the choice for adult smokers who are trying to find alternatives to assist them to switch.”

Juul Labs, maker of the top-selling vaping devices, which is predicated in San Francisco, didn't have a prominent voice within the debate. the corporate didn't answer requests for comment.

A coalition of groups, including the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association, the American Lung Association, and Tobacco-Free Kids Action Fund, conducted an active drive to uphold the ban.

Their fund was significantly smaller — $2.3 million, including a $1.8 million personal contributions from Michael R. Bloomberg, the previous mayor of the latest York City.

In a statement, Mr. Bloomberg said the vote “shows that the industry, regardless of what proportion of money it spends on misleading ads, are often defeated.

This vote should embolden other cities and states to act.”

Us has lagged behind other nations in regulating menthol cigarettes.

The inclusion of menthol within the San Francisco ban was hailed by numerous groups, concerned about the booming sales of menthol cigarettes among minorities, who have seen disproportionately high mortality rates associated with smoking.

“The ban on menthol cigarettes may be a monumental breakthrough for health equity and social justice for communities of color,” said Dr. Phil Gardiner, a co-chairman of the African-American Tobacco Control Leadership Council.

Canada banned the sale of menthol cigarettes last fall, and an identical measure for the ECU Union will become in 2020.

In use, the F.D.A. banned cigarettes with flavors like chocolate, cinnamon, and vanilla in 2009 and said it might check out menthol cigarettes.

Though it's taken steps to manage them also, the agency has continued to permit them on the market.

A handful of other cities, including Chicago, New York, and Providence, R.I., have some restrictions on flavored tobacco products, like limiting their sale to adults-only stores.

Matthew Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, said that some cities, including Duluth and St. Paul in Minnesota, have instituted more circumscribed bans then San Francisco’s, but held off widening they reach once they saw the pushback from R. J. Reynolds.

“When Reynolds paid to place this on the ballot, other jurisdictions were cautious,” he said.

“The resounding choose San Francisco goes to steer tons of cities to require a better look.”

Such policies are often tough to manage, said Mark D. Meaney, a senior lawyer for the general public Health Law Center, which has helped draft tobacco restrictions.

“But San Francisco certainly has the expertise and capacity to enforce them.”

Oakland recently passed restrictions that will soon become, and outreach workers are contacting small retailers to teach them about the new ordinance.

Just in the week, the San Mateo County, Calif., Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a ban that considerably resembles San Francisco’s and one in small, rural Yolo County, Calif.

Although R. J. Reynolds led the attack on the ban, other groups joined in.

Libertarians took up the protest, saying that the govt was overreaching. Small business owners also fought back, saying that the ban would sharply reduce their profits.

“Anchor products allow us to remain competitive to big-box stores, and that we will lose regular customers that keep our doors open,” said Miriam Zouzounis, a member of the Arab American Grocers Association, which represents over 400 businesses in San Francisco.

She said the law would disproportionately affect Arab, Sikh, and Asian store owners.

The ban is predicted to require effect within days after the vote is officially certified. Sheila Kaplan contributed reporting.

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