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San Francisco Passes Law Ban on E-Cigarettes Sales

  • On Tuesday, June 25th, San Francisco’s City’s Board of Supervisors voted unanimously in favor of an ordinance to effectively ban e-cigarette sales in the city. As previously reported on this blog, the measure was initially announced in March of this year, with City Attorney Dennis Herrera noting in a statement that “FDA has failed to do its job when it comes to e-cigarettes. Until the FDA does so, San Francisco has to step up.”

  • The ordinance prohibits the sale by tobacco retail establishments of e-cigarettes and the sale and distribution to any person in San Francisco of flavored tobacco products and e-cigarettes that “require, but have not received, an order from the [FDA] approving their marketing.” Notably, the San Francisco ban does not extend to non-flavored combustible cigarettes, which are grandfathered and exempt from FDA premarket review if they were on the market as of February 15, 2007, pursuant to the Tobacco Control Act.

  • To date, no e-cigarettes have received Premarket Tobacco Product Application (PMTA) authorization from FDA, in large part because FDA’s “Deeming Rule,” which extended the Agency’s tobacco authority to e-cigarettes, delayed the PMTA deadline for products on the market when the rule went into effect on August 8, 2016. The current PMTA deadline, however, remains in flux as a result of the May 15, 2019 decision from the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland in American Academy of Pediatrics v. FDA, which vacated the original guidance document which had extended the premarket review compliance policy deadline for currently marketed e-cigarettes to August 8, 2022.

  • Following the vote, City Attorney Dennis Herrera said in a statement, “This is a decisive step to help prevent another generation of San Francisco children from becoming addicted to nicotine.” Once approved by Mayor London Breed, who has signaled her support of the measure, the ordinance becomes effective 30 days after signature and operative six months after the effective date.

© 2019 Keller and Heckman LLP


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Keller and Heckman offers global food and drug services to its clients. Our comprehensive and extensive food and drug practice is one of the largest in the world. We promote, protect, and defend products made by the spectrum of industries regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the European Commission and Member States authorities in the European Union (EU) and similar authorities throughout the world. The products we help get to market include foods, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, veterinary products, dietary supplements, and cosmetics. In addition...