San Francisco has become the first city in the USA to restrict the sale of e-cigarettes, in a bid to curb their use by young people. The measure, passed by city officials earlier this week, forbids stores stocking the vaporisers or online retailers delivering them to addresses in the city, unless the device has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration. To date, no e-cigarette has.
Announcing the effective ban, City Attorney Dennis Herrera praised"a decisive step to help prevent another generation of San Francisco children from becoming addicted to nicotine".
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention claim that the number of US teenagers using nicotine grew by 36% in 2018, which it attributed to vaping. Campaigners claim that manufacturers target young people by offering sweetly flavoured products, and that vaping is a gateway to smoking proper (the latest research in the UK suggest rates of vaping remain low among young people).
But Juul Labs, the US’ most popular e-cigarette producer which is based in the city, hit back at the claims. A spokesman claimed that the ban risked driving adult vapers ‘back to deadly cigarettes’.
British writer and researcher Graham Cope who recently gave evidence to the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee for its green paper on e-cigarettes, told Independent Nurse that in the US 'the free availability of e-cigarettes is fuelling addiction'.
'I believe more research is needed to assess the toxicity of e-cigarettes before they can be recommended as long-term alternative to tobacco.' he concluded.