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San Francisco moves to ban vaping, but Marlboros and marijuana still a-okay

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors has approved a city ordinance which will make the sales of non-FDA approved vaping products and e-cigs illegal.  The legislation still must pass an additional vote, but if history is any indication, the ban will become a reality fairly quickly.

But of course, non-FDA approved combustible tobacco cigarettes and legalized weed will still be plentiful.  Yet in the Board’s legal brief proposing the new change, city officials claim that “(t)obacco kills more than 480,000 people in this country annually – more than AIDS, alcohol, car accidents, illegal drugs, murders, and suicides combined.”

To be absolutely clear, the e-liquids used in vaping are 100% tobacco-free.  Marlboro cigarettes, on the other hand, are not.  So, if combustible tobacco products kill more people than AIDS and car accidents, why is the City of San Francisco focusing its ire on the American vaping industry instead of Big Tobacco?

City Attorney Dennis Herrera goes on Twitter

In a statement on Twitter, City Attorney Dennis Herrera claims that prohibiting the sales of vapes both online and through conventional brick-and-mortars – even local vape shops - is just “common sense.”

“This legislation takes a reasoned approach. It doesn’t ban e-cigarettes outright. It simply says that if a tobacco product is required to have FDA approval to be on the market, it can’t be sold in San Francisco until it receives that approval. That’s just common sense.”

Twitter aside, the offices of the City Attorney of San Francisco also released an official statement on June 18 in which Herrera makes another devious attempt to intentionally mislead city residents about vaping.

 “If their product really has some kind of benefit to smokers, as they claim, why haven’t they already submitted it for the required review?”

What Herrera is not telling his constituents is that until last week, the FDA approval process called the Pre-Market Tobacco Application or PMTA was not even officially finalized.  Until last week, vapor manufacturers did not even know how to submit an application let alone gain FDA approval.

Related Article: FDA deeming regulations update: PMTA approval process finalized

The FDA guidelines detailing the necessary scientific documentation, marketing strategies, and other critical requirements for acquiring approval were still unclear a full three-years after the original announcement of the FDA deeming regulations of 2015.  With a single PMTA costing the applicant perhaps a million of dollars for each product, is it any wonder that vape vendors were leery of submitting PMTAs until the approval process was officially finalized? 

Coincidentally, out of the over 400 PMTAs submitted in April 2019, only four were approved, and all four were for Big Tobacco heat-no-burn technologies which rely completely on the combustion of tobacco leaves. Another coincidence, San Francisco is also the home of the Juul Labs offices.  Many politicians don‘t automatically hate vaping, but they definitely hate Juul.

Dr. Michael Siegel strikes back

When a professor of Community Health Sciences from Boston University School, Dr. Michael Siegel, caught wind of the city’s plans to ban the sales of vapor products citywide, he immediately called the action “insane.”  In his blistering article entitled, San Francisco Board of Supervisors Poised to Deliver Huge Gift to Philip Morris,Siegel also accuses Herrera and his cast of political cronies of taking unnecessary regulatory actions that they know very well “will result in the deaths of a large number of ex-smokers in the city.”

“This has to be one of the most insane public health proposals I have ever seen…There is no question that this ordinance will result in the deaths of a large number of ex-smokers in the city, who will almost certainly return to cigarette smoking when their vaping products are no longer available. It will be far easier for them to just pick up a pack of Marlboros then to cross the Bay Bridge, the Golden Gate Bridge, or venture down into Daly City to locate a store that sells the e-cigarettes upon which they are currently relying to stay smoke-free. The ordinance will also deter thousands of smokers from trying to quit smoking using e-cigarettes, since the absence of vaping products on convenience store and gas station shelves will leave the market wide open for Marlboro and Camel to retain their current customers, with little threat of losing those customers to the much safer alternative of vaping.”

Siegel goes on to say that if city officials like Herrera and the growing numbers of legislators on Capitol Hill truly cared about the youth of America, if they were truly courageous, then they would be banning combustible tobacco products instead of e-cigs.  Sadly, he continues, the truth is that these chest-pounding politicians appear to be “perfectly content with allowing deadly cigarettes to be sold to the kids who they purport to be protecting.”

Related Article: Dishonesty and deception: Why do Democrats hate vaping but love weed?

(Image courtesy of Jeff Chiu/AP)

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