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San Francisco refuses to repeal flavor ban; Referendum vote imminent

Earlier this summer, San Francisco became the first metropolitan area to implement a ban on the sales of flavored vaping and tobacco products.  Bay area vapers were instantly outraged, but that fear and contempt quickly spread throughout the entire nation.  If a city government in California can bypass both state and federal regulations and create their own Puritanical, anti-vaping laws, what’s stopping politicians in Youngstown, Ohio, or Des Moines, Iowa, from doing the same?

Almost directly on the heels of the San Francisco announcement, vaping advocacy groups across the country sprang into action.  The Let’s Be Real, San Francisco (LBRSF) organization was immediately formed with the primary objective of overturning the controversial ordinance.  To do so, they would need Californians to vote against it.  But first, they would need to jump through some political hoops to get the bill on the ballot.


They needed 19,040 citizens to sign a referendum petition first.  And by combining their efforts with other vaping advocacy groups like NotBlowingSmoke.org, the Consumer Advocates for Smoke Free Alternatives Association (CASAA), and the American Vaping Association (AVA), LBRSF received well over that threshold number.  Over 34,000 certified signatures were acquired overall, and the referendum was sent to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.

Last week, the board had the chance to review the petition and overturn the flavor ban legislation on their own.  But they refused.  In an interview with the San Francisco Examiner, Supervisor Malia Cohen spouted the same, tired, anti-vaping rhetoric that has been overwhelmingly debunked by the scientific community over and over again. 

“It’s offensive that a company that kills people for a living is singularly bankrolling a campaign that they claim is about freedom of choice,” Cohen said. “Their campaign is all about protecting their products and cultivating new smokers and getting them hooked.”
“They are not just getting anyone hooked. They are systematically targeting our children.”

To be clear, Cohen was specifically taking about the R.J. Reynolds company, a leading member of Big Tobacco.  But she also implies that flavored tobacco is one-in-the-same with flavored e-liquids, and that both vaping and tobacco companies are secretly out to lure young children into their diabolical scheme.  This may be true for Big Tobacco, but study after study has already proven that vaping is in no way a gateway to smoking – especially among young people.  In fact, vaping is now considered a roadblock to smoking by the scientific community at large.

The San Francisco flavor ban is now heading to the ballot box.  Next June, Bay Area residents will have what may be their only chance to overturn the legislation.  And the rest of the vaping nation is watching...closely!


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