Vape debate: San Francisco takes another step toward ban on e-cigarettes

San Francisco taking one more step to banning e-cigarettes and vaping in the city.

The city is looking at banning the sale of vaping supplies within city limits until they are approved by the food and drug administration.

The use of vape products has skyrocketed since their introduction; touted as a way to help smokers kick the habit.

In a packed public safety hearing on Friday, Supervisor Shamann Walton pushed new legislation banning the devices until they are approved by the Food and Drug Administration, saying they are creating a whole new generation of nicotine users. 

"We are not going to let big tobacco come back disguised as a product that is actually helping people," said Walton. "But, is even than cigarettes."

Stephen Tillisch smoked for more than 50 years and says e-cigarettes are the only thing that helped him kick the habit. 

"It was the only way I could get off this," said Tillisch. "I tried the patch, I smoked on top of the patch, I tried a couple other things, they didn't work. I'm not smoking cigarettes now."

But San Francisco's Director of Public Health, Dr. Tomas Aragon, says a new report shows e-cigarettes are addicting more than they are helping.

"For every individual adult who quits smoking cigarettes from using electronic cigarettes 80 youths and young people go on to be regular cigarette smokers," said Dr. Aragon.

Former smoker Tillisch found that number hard to believe saying, "I disagree with that. It's just too high of a figure."

Opponents of the ban also say they worry it will kill small businesses like gone with the smoke.

Owner Christopher Chin says he's selling a legal product, one that he believes helps people quit smoking. 

Chin said he works hard to make sure vaping products don't wind up in kids hands. 

"Check ID's. They always say something like, 'I have a picture of my ID,'" he said. "I say, 'Nope. You can't have that. We need the actual ID.' Then they walk out and never come back."

"You don't have the right to to sell harmful products at will and do it in the name of small business," said Supervisor Walton.

The committee voted to forward the ban to a full Board of Supervisors vote, as well as another new law that would prohibit the sale manufacture or distribution of tobacco and vaping products on city-owned property.

The full board will be considering both pieces of legislation on June 18th.