San Francisco Board of Supervisors votes unanimously to ban e-cigarettes

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- By early next year, the sale of electronic cigarettes is expected to be banned in San Francisco. Tuesday afternoon, the Board of supervisors voted unanimously to make it illegal to sell and distribute them.

As far as legislative measures go, the banning of e-cigarettes by the board was a slam dunk. That it passed unanimously, was no surprise.

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"We spent the 90s battling big tobacco and now we see its new form through e-cigarettes," said Supervisor Shamann Walton who introduced the measure.

The strongest argument against e-cigarettes is that tobacco products like Juul appeal to young people.

"For every adult that uses e-cigarettes to stop smoking or cut back on nicotine, dozens of children start and that stopped me," expressed Supervisor Vallie Brown.

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E-cigarettes are marketed to smokers as a way to satisfy their nicotine addiction without the harm that comes from cigarettes. Yet these products have never gone through the Food and Drug Administration approval process.

Juul labs, based in San Francisco, said, "The prohibition of vapor products for all adults in San Francisco will not effectively address underage use and will leave cigarettes on shelves as the only choice for adult smokers."

Once the ban is in place, these products cannot be ordered online or mailed to a San Francisco address. Some argued it would harm small businesses and create a black market.

"We don't want it in the hands of kids but if we put this in place, it will go to the black market which increases crime," predicted Rev. Floyd Trammell of the First Friendship Institutional Baptist Church.

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Imad Bitar owns two small businesses in San Francisco that sell e-cigarettes.

"I just told my landlord a week ago if this ban passes I am going to close my business," said Bitar.
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