San Francisco Vape Flavor Ban
San Francisco Vape Flavor Ban
An ordinance has been passed in San Francisco that has truly shook the vaping world. Set to take effect in April 2018, a this new law bans the sale of flavored vapor products, flavored tobacco products, and even menthol cigarettes. Regardless of how you feel about cigarettes, the impact that this law will have on the vaping industry cannot even be fathomed. One word comes to mind: utter destruction.
There has been considerable research regarding menthol cigarettes and their negative effects conducted. The validity of such has been debated, but findings still exist. On one side of the debate, research can be found that supports the belief that menthol cigarettes harbor more negative effects than their standard flavor counterparts, when looking at risk for disease and death rates. Other research suggests that menthol cigarettes do not put users at an increased risk for cardiovascular disease or stroke. Regardless of which study you read, one thing is certain: cigarettes do harm, the extent of which is still up for debate.
No evidence currently exists that would support the idea that a ban against lower-risk nicotine products will benefit anyone. Why would a government want to ban an option for individuals to lower the risk they are exposing themselves to? If the individual is looking to use a lower-risk option to aid in their smoking cessation, it seems counterproductive to take that option away. Such a ban may even cause individuals who have stopped smoking through the use of vape devices to turn back to cigarettes, putting themselves at higher risk once again. It could also discourage those who want to begin a smoking cessation process through vape use - an unnecessary harm to the smoking population of San Francisco.
This decision appears to have been made based on emotion, not facts. Rather than working to compare evidence regarding harm reduction alternatives or considering new ways to address disease and health issues revolving smoking, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors has chosen to experiment with an untested policy. The Consumer Advocates for Smoke Free Alternatives Association (CASAA) states, “We need to emphasize that banning low-risk, smoke-free products is NOT based on evidence.”
What’s even more concerning is the speed with which the San Francisco council passed the ordinance. This indicates that very little deliberation took place, little to no consideration was given smoking cessation success stories, the pleas of local vape shops, or the individual testimonials given by consumers who shared their stories with the Public Safety Committee.
The lumping of vape use and cigarettes is not new to the vaping industry, but when it becomes a hindrance for those looking for a less-harmful alternative to smoking to aid with their quit attempt, it becomes a larger issue. It’s no longer about where or when you can vape in the workplace, or how taxes will be handled, it becomes an issue regarding the freedom for able-minded adults to make the decision to lesser the harm they are exposing themselves to. If your ultimate goal is to decrease the harm smokers are exposing themselves and others to, why would you ban an option that has been successful in aiding the smoking cessation process? It’s a frustrating, contradictory decision, that becomes a call to action.
You can stop creeping bans like this one by reaching out to local officials. CASAA provides a pre-written email, addressing the ban, and the effects such a ban will have on those who are looking to lessen their exposed harm by using a smoke-free product. It only takes a minute to send a message to the full Board of Supervisors, to encourage them to reconsider the adoption of this ordinance, set to take effect in April 2018. You have the power to make a difference. If this ordinance seems unfair to you, or if you think longer consideration should be taken when making a decision regarding the ban of flavored products, speak out, send an email, make a difference.