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San Francisco: Are E-cigarettes Banned Soon?

San Francisco at the west coast of the United States may become the first major city in the USA to ban e-cigarettes. The city authorities voted in favour of this measure, referring to the rising consumption in young users. The ultimate decision is expected in the upcoming week.
The San Francisco Inspectorate approved the amendment to the Act regarding tobacco products and their distribution. Electronic cigarettes are not only included, but are explicitly pointed out, because the devices are responsible for an increasing epidemic of vaping among youths.
Another vote will take place next week to finalise the legislative changes. Only when this has been voted upon will these changes come into force. However, regulators also expressed their concern about the potential impact on smaller companies. It is therefore intending to establish a working group to complete the action successfully.

Study: Consumption of E-cigarettes has Risen among Adolescents

A recent study by the Center for Control and Prevention of Diseases in the US found that around 4.9 million high-school and middle-school students vaped 2018 — the year before this number was just about 3.6 million. The CDC Director, Robert R. Redfield, declared that the country must protect children from a health risk which is easily avoidable.
He also said that the big increase in e-cigarette consumption among young people undermines the progress in downsizing young people's tobacco use. A whole new generation is in danger of becoming addicted to nicotine.

Can the Ban Keep Teenagers Effectively Away from Vaping?

Bonnie Halpern-Felsher, a professor at Stanford University who studies how e-cigarettes affect young people, could not say with any certainty whether the ban would impact consumption behaviour in adolescents. While welcoming this specific measure, it is only one step towards solving the problem. In many ways, the ban is also a clear message sent out to the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
In 2018, the FDA turned to e-cigarette manufacturers and asked them to stop selling their products to minors. This applied to both the appliances and the aromatised vaping products.
A spokesperson from the FDA said they were anxious to continue tackling escalating e-cigarette use amongst minors. This includes restricting adolescent access and attractiveness for flavoured tobacco products; measures against manufacturers and retailers illegally marketing or selling them to minors; and educating young people about the dangers and risks of e-cigarettes and other tobacco products.

The Juul Company’s View on the City’s Ban

Juul, a San Francisco based e-cigarette company, considers vaping as a healthier alternative to smoking tobacco and claim to have taken steps to discourage children and teenagers from using their products. The US company stated that it has made its online age verification process safer and closed its Facebook and Instagram pages as well to stop marketing to people under the age of 21.
The company pointed out that the ban on e-cigarette products could not effectively counteract the general consumption. Rather, this would harm the adult smoker, for whom the classic tobacco cigarette is now the only option. Regarding that risk, it should be remembered that tobacco products — even still today — killed around 40,000 people in California each year.
Juul said that a ban on e-cigarettes and related products does not necessarily prevent use by minors.
The action in San Francisco now provides a stage for the campaign for the e-cigarette. Juul had already donated $500,000 to the Coalition for Reasonable Vaping Regulation.
The US company also said further that they will continue to focus on providing smokers with a good alternative to tobacco cigarettes, with experts agreeing that e-cigarettes are far less harmful than regular cigarettes because not all carcinogenic by-products are included.
Research is still in its infancy and long-term studies regarding possible damage and consequences are still ongoing. However, there is already some evidence that vaping is a less harmful alternative to tobacco for many smokers. It is therefore more than possible that a ban on the electronic cigarette could prove rather counterproductive, since many people could return to the classic tobacco cigarette, which never should be the outcome. It is obvious that an educational campaign especially for adolescents could be more effective than prohibition and bans.

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