San Francisco’s E-Cigarette Ban Aims to Goose the FDA

Such articles has been updated to reflect final section by the Board of Supervisors on June 25.

San Francisco city officials voted unanimously on Tuesday to suspend the sale and bringing of electronic cigarettes until the products are approved by the Food and Drug Administration. The legislation, which still requires the mayor’s signature, would go into effect in seven months–giving e-cigarette makers until early next year to prevail favor from the FDA.

The measure is intended to help stem the explosive popularity of e-cigarettes among young people, which the US Surgeon General has described as an epidemic. But it’s not clear that stirring e-cigarettes illegal will stop teenagers from vaping.

“We’ll see if it modifies behavior, ” says Bonnie Halpern-Felsher, a professor at Stanford who studies how e-cigarettes affect young person. “We don’t know yet.” Halpern-Felsher welcomes the ban, but says it’s merely one step toward addressing the problem. She points out that the proposal is largely aimed at the makers of e-cigarettes themselves, and “in a lot of ways this is a message to the FDA.”

The message is hurry up. Dennis Herrera, San Francisco &# x27; s city lawyer and coauthor of the legislation, says the city wants to protect young people. But he also says he hopes the existing legislation will “spur the FDA to do what’s required under the law” and review whether these products are safe for shoppers, and whether e-cigarettes are really the lower-risk tobacco option they claim to be.

More than one in five middle and high school teenagers vape, according to the US Centers for Disease Control. In 2018, the FDA warned e-cigarette companies to stop market to children and proposed curtailing the sale of flavored vaping commodities to children. Still, the administration has yet to review the safety of these makes. In an email, FDA spokesperson Michael Felberbaum author: “The FDA is committed to continuing to tackle the troubling epidemic of e-cigarette use among girls. This includes limiting youth access to, and plea of, flavored tobacco makes like e-cigarettes and cigars, taking action against manufacturers and retailers who illegally sell or sell these commodities to children, and training youth about the dangers of e-cigarettes and other tobacco products.”

San Francisco officials say that isn’t enough. “The epidemic is real. It needed attention, ” says Herrera, “We felt it was necessary to step in and make sure we were protecting young people on our streets.” Herrera blamed the FDA for being too slow and not properly vetting e-cigarettes before they arrived on world markets in 2007. He was of the view that by failing to test the safety of the machines, the federal government “abdicated” its responsibility. So San Francisco had to step in.

The Tobacco Control Act holds the FDA authority to assess the safety and health risks of produces, like e-cigarettes, that publicize themselves as low hazard or less damaging than regular cigarettes. Often the FDA is supposed to conduct these reviews before the products show up on shelves, but the agency has been slow to catch up with the vaping furor. The FDA does currently involve e-cigarette manufacturers to submit applications for inspect, but numerous makes like Juul didn’t get pre-market approval before they applied their e-cigarettes out. Instead of removing those commodities, the FDA dedicated Juul and other business a 2022 deadline for submitting applications for approval.

For San Francisco officials and others, that’s unacceptable. E-cigarettes were not able to effect lung cancer, but they do contain nicotine, which is highly addictive, and can affect adolescent brain development. Recent studies suggest they may be linked to other cardiovascular and lung positions. The CDC does not recommend any e-cigarette products for children or adolescents, but it has said e-cigarettes have the “potential to benefit” adult smokers who button from combustible cigarettes to e-cigarettes.

“The FDA is complicit in allowing this epidemic to develop, ” Stanton Glantz, head of the UC San Francisco &# x27; s Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education, author in an email. “Other metropolis and states should follow SF’s lead: pass comprehensive flavor disallows, followed by legislation to prohibit the sales of e-cigs until they are properly assessed by FDA.”

While the FDA may be behind the hot brand-new teen tendencies, there is no guarantee that a neighbourhood proscription will have much impact on the teenage vaping epidemic. The FDA already inhibits the sale of e-cigarettes to people 18 and older, and in California you have to be 21 and over to buy them, but that hasn’t done much to deter minors. “Youth still can access these products pretty easily, ” says Halpern-Felsher, the Stanford professor. A proscription would remove e-cigarettes from San Francisco, but not from Oakland or other neighboring cities. Halpern-Felsher says that for many teenagers, especially those who can’t drive, that is able to become buying e-cigarettes more difficult but not been possible. “They certainly can , no doubt, and they do, ” she adds.

Halpern-Felsher would like to see additional programs that educate mothers, coaches, and adolescents about the risks of e-cigarettes. Right now San Francisco has no plans to increase awareness, advertise, or education campaigns aimed at young vapers.

The proposed law seems particularly odd in a city where marijuana vape pens are both popular and still legal, untouched by the ban. “That’s a exhibition debate to have, ” says Herrera, who aware of the fact that policymakers will need to evaluate if they are sending mingled messages to the public.

Michael Siegel, a professor at Boston University who studies tobacco regulation, perturbs the prohibition will send mingled signals about what essences are or are not OK to use. He says that San Francisco is not proposing to ban traditional cigarettes, whose health risks are well documented: “We’re basically saying that we only care about the risks of kids vaping, but we don’t care about whether they smoke or not. If we’re going to ban vaping because we’re afraid of long-term probabilities that we don’t know, then how can we not ban smoking or the sale of cigarettes when we do know the long-term outcomes? ” Siegel says some adults who can’t get access to e-cigarettes may return to regular cigarettes, inducing more health problems.

Siegel intimates San Francisco consider tobacco the style many countries consider alcohol, by restricting marketings to adults-only storages. “The Board of Supervisors is going after vaping because it’s politically expedient, ” he says, arguing that if the city were serious about tobacco addiction it should ban all tobacco commodities, as Beverly Hills did in June.

Juul, which holds around 75 percent of the e-cigarette market and is headquartered in San Francisco, voiced similar concerns. In the following statement, a Juul spokesperson wrote that the company shares the supervisors’ “goal to keep tobacco and vapor products out of the hands of anyone under 21. ” Juul points to changes it made to the company’s online marketing and to improvements to its online ordering age-verification system. “But the prohibition of vapor produces for all adults in San Francisco will not effectively address underage its utilization and will leave cigarettes on shelves as the only choice for adult smokers, even though they kill 40,000 Californians every year, ” the statement continued.

If one thing is clear, it’s that adolescents like to buck authority. There’s been a sea change in our culture attitudes toward smoking, due in part to campaigns that taught teens how the tobacco manufacture was controlling them to buy cigarettes. The teens rebelled, and suddenly smoking wasn’t cool anymore. Teens may not care about any contents that San Francisco is sending to the FDA–or what their parents would like them to do.

Siegel says we should harness that anti-establishment spirit to turn adolescents away from vaping too. “These are very addictive makes and when you get addicted, you lose control, ” he contributes. By communicating those themes to teens, we’ll get teenagers to do the hard work of changing a culture for us. “Kids could rebel against Juul itself, ” he says.

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