E-cigarette maker Juul is collecting signatures for a ballot measure to overturn a ban on the sale of vaping products. (Ellie Doyen/Special to S.F. Examiner)

Vaping sales ban wins final approval with mayor’s backing

Ballot fight looms as Juul collects signatures for November measure to overturn law

As expected, the Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to approve a vaping sales ban in San Francisco.

The first in the nation sales ban goes into effect in about seven months.

The board first approved the legislation introduced by Supervisor Shamann Walton banning the sale of vaping products last week. Legislation requires two votes for approval and the second votes are largely perfunctory.

“We spent the ’90s battling Big Tobacco. And now we see its new form through e-cigarettes,” Walton said last week. “I am not going to put profits of Big Tobacco over the health of our children and our young people.”

The sales ban would remain in effect until the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued guidance after reviewing the products for their health impacts.

Mayor London Breed issued a statement Tuesday supporting the law.

“I support the legislation authored by City Attorney Dennis Herrera and Supervisor Shamann Walton to suspend the sale of e-cigarettes in San Francisco until the Food and Drug Administration concludes a review of the impacts of vaping on public health,” Breed said. “There is so much we don’t know about the health impacts of these products, but we do know that e-cigarette companies are targeting our kids in their advertising and getting them hooked on addictive nicotine products.”

“We need to take action to protect the health of San Francisco’s youth and prevent the next generation of San Franciscans from becoming addicted to these products,” Breed said.

A signature campaign funded by San Francisco-based vaping manufacturer Juul to place a measure on the November ballot overturning the ban is in progress. The effort would need to gather about 9,000 signatures by July 8.

The campaign, called the “Coalition for Reasonable Vaping Regulation,” criticized the the board’s decision in a statement after the vote.

“This decision by the Board of Supervisors puts politics before public health, and demonstrates to every resident in San Francisco their intent to legislate for optics over the mandate for responsible policymaking,” the statement said. “The Board has shown no consideration for public sentiment, and absolutely no willingness to examine proven regulatory measures that would achieve the goals of youth prevention, while preserving reasonable access to legal products for adults.”

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