Juul Fights San Francisco Ban on E-cigarette Sales
San Francisco Mayor London Breed officially signed the ban on e-cigarette sales within city limits. The City is set to implement the ordinance within approximately 7 months. Juul, which claims more than 70% of the e-cigarette market, is trying to fight the City with a ballot initiative to roll back the new rule. Juul and other e-cigarette proponents claim the new ordinance will hurt local businesses and force people back to smoking traditional cigarettes.
San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera explained last week that San Francisco was forced to take action against teen vaping because the FDA refused to do its job. The “temporary” moratorium specifically states that sales will be banned unless and until said products undergo preliminary FDA review for product safety. No products underwent such a review, Despite the FDA gaining oversight in 2016. Instead of regulating e-cigarettes to protect consumers, the FDA, under Scott Gottlieb, benched all product review requirements until at least 2022. This inaction sparked a meteoric rise in e-cigarette use—especially in underage users—forcing several states and now cities to institute their own laws to protect minors and adult consumers. The San Francisco ban is a shout to the FDA to do a better job.
Meanwhile, Juul wants to keep the $38 billion valuation it gained when it accepted a heavy investment from big tobacco Phillip Morris’ parent company Altria. Its ballot initiative apparently already garnered enough signatures to get on the ballot this November. No matter the result of this effort, the fight to regulate e-cigarettes will continue as several states are instituting their own methods of decreasing teen use—many via hefty taxes like the 92% excise tax just issued in Vermont. The States are sending a clear message to the FDA about the out-of-control e-cigarette market: “Follow your charter and protect consumers—or we will.”