SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (AP/KTVU) - San Francisco Board of Supervisors on Tuesday passed a unanimous vote to ban the sale of e-cigarettes, making it the first major U.S. city to do so.
Backers say they hope the legislation will curb underage use of e-cigarettes, but critics say the ban will make it harder for adults to purchase an alternative to regular cigarettes.
City Attorney Dennis Herrera issued a statement after the vote saying, "San Francisco is taking action to protect our kids."
"This is a decisive step to help prevent another generation of San Francisco children from becoming addicted to nicotine. I want to thank Supervisor Shamann Walton and the rest of the Board of Supervisors for their action today. The U.S. Surgeon General has warned that we're in the midst of a youth vaping epidemic. San Francisco is taking action to protect our kids. This temporary moratorium wouldn't be necessary if the federal government had done its job. E-cigarettes are a product that, by law, are not allowed on the market without FDA review. For some reason, the FDA has so far refused to follow the law. If the federal government is not going to act, San Francisco will."-Herrera
San Francisco is a city that celebrates its marijuana culture, but it appears deeply opposed to other vices. Last year, voters approved a ban on the sale of flavored tobacco and in 2016, a tax on sugar-sweetened drinks.
E-cigarette maker Juul Labs, which is based in San Francisco, says it is opposed to youth vaping, but the ban will leave regular cigarettes as the only option for adult smokers.
The company is working on a ballot initiative that would regulate but not ban e-cigarette sales.
The new legislation suspends the sale of e-cigarettes that have not undergone required FDA review.
The ban could be lifted, pending a federal assessment of the health risks of vaping.