San Francisco has made plans to ban sales of all vapes including online purchases after the city banned the sale of tobacco products and flavored vapor last year.
The city will not ban cigarettes
According to Dennis Herrera, the City Attorney: “Considering the health and lives of our children at stake, San Francisco is not afraid to take the lead. He went further to say “the hard-fought gains we achieved in curbing the use of tobacco by youths have been wiped out by E-cigarettes.” Now, it is time to take every necessary action to ensure our kids are protected.
The Board of Supervisors has proposed a law which aims at restricting the sales of all vapes from San Francisco markets until the FDA gives approval. Till now, no premarket tobacco application (PMTA) has been submitted to the FDA by any vapor manufacturer. This is due to the perceived low chances that any product could be approved in addition to the prohibitive costs associated with it. Applicants are required by FDA marketing approval to show evidence that their products will “foster public health protection.”
Before the advent of vapor products in the US market, cigarettes that were available for sale before Congress passed the Tobacco Control Act in 2009 never went through review. And since then, no drastic action has been taken to against cigarettes by the FDA Center for Tobacco Products.
According to Herrera, “a review is supposed to be conducted by the Food and Drug Administration to evaluate the impact any new tobacco product has on the public health before it goes into the market.”
In the case of the e-cigarettes, the FDA has not lived up to expectations. This goes to say that San Francisco needs to step up. Long before the FDA imposed regulations on tobacco product, E-cigarettes, as well as other vaping products, have been in the US market. It now appears ironic to enforce such harsh regulations on already existing vapor products while allowing the known-deadly cigarettes to roam the market without any form of restriction.
Today, San Francisco joins Chicago and New York City to ask that FDA demand PMTAs from all manufacturers as a part of the Deeming Rule. These mentioned cities have shown their readiness to sue the federal agency if it fails to heed to this demand. Consequently, there have been a number of lawsuits filed by tobacco control groups, to see that the PMTA requirements are imposed.
The proposed ban is a reaction to Scott Gottlieb, the outgoing FDA Commissioner who declared the teenage vaping epidemic. According to Gottlieb, there was an increment of about 78% in the use of this vaping product by high school students in the last 30 day period. This is based on preliminary results obtained from the National Youth Tobacco Survey (NYTS) by CDC, 2018.
The survey shows that 20.8% of the high school students made use of vape products in the last 1 month period which is more than the 2017 result of 11.7%. In response, the FDA
Based on the “epidemic” of occasional use, the FDA has made some revisions on a plan to enforce flavored vaping products. Again, there have been some adjustments in the existing flavored products PMTA’s submission deadline to 2021 from 2022.
Gottlieb, after helping in the creation of an inquisition-like atmosphere which surrounds the debate over vaping regulation is now on his way out of the FDA. There are laid plans and proposals to ban vape, an increase in the legal age of purchase from 18 to 21, and exorbitant tax rates on vaping products. However, no one is even giving attention to the decline in teen smoking.
There is a strict focus on vape products by public officials while they ignore the more combustible tobacco. They now talk about prohibition and the need to fight against any form of child-corruption poison. What is seen today is now a sharp deviation from the usual tolerant city to a rather coercive, illiberal and intolerance one.
San Francisco officials are now exploring ways to send JUUL labs packing and continually put effort to restrict vaping manufacturers from acquiring city-owned property. JUUL offices are located in the city’s neighborhood though the product is not manufactured here in San Francisco.
According to Shamann Walton, Supervisor, San Francisco, “with those flavors and colors, E-cigarettes has a target on the adolescents as it pulls them toward nicotine addiction.” He went further to say that “the only way to ensure that our youth are safe is by banning vaping products which drags them towards addiction to tobacco and nicotine.”
No doubt, public health officials, as well as those politicians, have ultimately abandoned the idea of significantly reducing diseases and death caused by combustible tobacco due to the moral and increasing panic over youth vaping. They have shifted their focus on the elimination of a rather feasible and ideal alternative that will effectively compete against cigarettes. Do they expect any credit for such action?