San Francisco moves to ban sales of vaping flavors, menthol cigarettes

By Susan Scutti, CNN

San Francisco city supervisors approved this week an ordinance to ban the sales of flavored vaping liquid. The measure would also prohibit sales of menthol cigarettes and other flavored tobacco products.

The city board will vote on the ban next week. If passed, the legislation will become effective in April 2018 throughout the city -- the first in the nation to approve such a sweeping ban on flavored tobacco sales.

Non-flavored tobacco products will still be allowed to be sold in the city under the new law. Prohibited products would include all flavored cigarettes, flavored cigars, flavored smokeless tobacco, flavored shisha, and flavored nicotine solutions that are used in e-cigarettes.

Effective in June last year, California changed the legal age to purchase tobacco from 18 to 21. The same measure, signed by California Gov. Jerry Brown, said vaping products would be regulated as tobacco products. The new ordinance states that "flavored tobacco products promote youth initiation of tobacco use," while "menthol, in particular, cools and numbs the throat to reduce throat irritation and make the smoke feel smoother."

Ray Story, CEO of Tobacco Vapor Electronic Cigarette Association, an industry association, thinks the new ordinance is "extremely irresponsible."

Story agrees with getting rid of vaping product flavors and packaging with cartoon characters meant to target children but, he believes that many smokers use e-cigarettes to transition away from harmful cigarettes. He considers vaping a form of harm reduction, a treatment philosophy that proposes reducing use and negative impacts of drugs for those people who are unable or simply unwilling to stop.
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