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What is ‘Let's Be Real, San Francisco,’ and why should you care?

When San Francisco recently passed a new city ordinance banning the sales of flavored e-liquids and menthol cigarettes, the news hit the west coast vaping community like a bombshell.  Pro-vaping advocates were understandably outraged while vaping haters were boasting of victory.  However, a large portion of Middle and Eastern America had opinions that fell somewhere in between, if they had an opinion at all.

Social media filled up with comments like “There go those silly California liberals!” or “San Francisco’s nannies are at it again!”  Meanwhile, one group of concerned citizens refused to accept defeat, and the Let’s Be Real, San Francisco committee to repeal the city’s flavor ban was born. 

According to the LBRSF website, the intent of the campaign is to push for a ballot measure to repeal the new legislation.  The flavor ban only hurts Bay Area vape shops and will have limited success in reducing the sales of flavored e-liquids citywide.  San Franciscans looking for their favorite dessert vapes will likely only travel to another neighboring town.  Meanwhile, the city government is essentially shooting itself in the foot by throwing tax dollars out the proverbial window into the coffers of nearby Dale City and elsewhere.

San Francisco flavor ban has potential national consequences

San Francisco is not the only California metropolis entertaining the notion of a citywide flavor ban.  According to NotBlowingSmoke.org which is one of the major players in a wider coalition of “adult consumers, neighborhood retailers and advocates for free choice,” Oakland, Contra Costa County, Los Gatos, San Leandro, and Palo Alto are also under threat.

But what about vapors who happen to live in Des Moines, Iowa, or Newark, New Jersey?  Does the issue of a San Francisco flavor ban even matter?

Yes, it might, and perhaps much sooner than you might think.

On July 3, the city of Austin, TX implemented a ban of its own which prohibits the use of electronic cigarettes in public areas, including parks, government buildings, and even vape-friendly business establishments.  Who’s to say that an Austin flavor ban isn’t right around the corner?  Or perhaps some form of flavor ban legislation will hit the statehouses in your neck of the woods.

The Let’s Be Real, San Francisco committee is being endorsed by every major vaping advocacy group across the nation including Not Blowing Smoke, Consumer Advocates for Smoke Free Alternatives Association (CASAA), and the American Vaping Association (AVA).  In fact, Pamela Gorman, Executive Director of the Smoke-Free Alternatives Trade Association (SFATA) recently published a membership communication stressing the importance of this national referendum.  She also lists several ways that Non-Californians can help.


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