In June 2016, California passed a law to restrict the sales of tobacco products which included electronic cigarettes to adults of over 21 years of age. Yet officials argued that this was not enough. In their opinion, the fact that the flavoured products could still be purchased from convenience stores, allowed them to be visually accessible to young adults, hence enticing them to try the products.
“Today, San Francisco sent a clear message that we need to do more to protect the health of our most vulnerable,” Supervisor Malia Cohen said in a news release. “Tobacco-related cancers lead all other cancer death rates in San Francisco, for both men and women. This legislation will reduce the number of new tobacco users that pick up the habit each year. The federal government continues to abdicate it responsibility to protect public health through its ongoing attempts to roll back health care access. It is the right and duty of states and localities to ensure that our communities are healthy, solvent, and safe.”
Why banning flavours is unwise
Public health experts have been pointing out that banning flavours will have a detrimental effect on adult smokers who are trying to quit via vaping products. Many former smokers are encouraged to try the significantly safer products, because of the wide array of available flavours. Seven-Eleven manager Paul Sekhon concurs, “Believe it or not older people buy the blueberry or grape,” he had said back in April, when local officials first proposed the flavour ban.
The ban passed the Board of Supervisors unanimously last Tuesday, however it still needs to be approved by Mayor Lee before being implemented. Lee has indicated he will sign the flavour ban.