San Francisco May Become First U.S. City To Ban Vaping

San Francisco May Become First U.S. City To Ban Vaping

The move aims to cut down increasing usage among the young. It's based on recent studies conducted by universities that measure the effects of vaping on different age groups.

For a while now, e-cigarettes have been promoted and portrayed as an alternative to tobacco and cigarettes. Over the past few years, we have seen a burst in the popularity of these products. Celebrities such as Leonardo Dicaprio, Ben Affleck, Katy Perry and many more are also known to use e-cigarettes and in a way, it has become sort of a style statement as well. On top of this, vaping has also become something of a fad among the young with many vaping experts and celebrities on the rise. A simple search on the internet and one will find even courses and tricks on how to vape. However, style statement and fad apart, one does not actually know whether e-cigarettes work to reduce addiction to tobacco. There are many who doubt it's effectiveness and instead point to how harmful they might actually be to one's health. Owing to such ambiguity about the effects of the product, the city of San Francisco might bring in a law that bans the use of the same until its effects are fully evaluated by the US government reports the BBC. Officials in San Francisco have already proposed a new law to ban e-cigarette sales and the news about this move has obviously had mixed reviews among people, especially among users.


The new law appears to be the first of its kind in the country and primarily was proposed with the aim to cut down usage among the young. A recent survey carried out by the University of Michigan shows that the percentage of Grade 12 students, aged between 17 to 18 years and who reported to vaping nicotine rose to from 11 percent to 21 percent in 2017 itself. The study was based on interviews with 45,000 students. It claimed that this was the largest single-year increase surpassing even the surge in marijuana smoking that was seen in the 1970s.


Critics of the move say it will make it harder for people to kick an addiction to cigarettes. Apart from this law, there will also be a second law in the city that will bar the making, selling and distributing of tobacco on city property. Last week, the national food regulator, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released its proposed guidelines. The guidelines will give companies a deadline of till 2021 to apply and to have their e-cigarette products evaluated.


Initially, the deadline was set for August 2018, but the agency later changed this since it said that more preparation time was needed for e-cigarette companies. Dennis Herrera, San Francisco city attorney and one of the co-authors of the bill, that is yet to be approved, highlighted a major flaw in the present system. He said, even before these products hit the market and sold, they should have been reviewed.


Herrera said, "These companies may hide behind the veneer of harm reduction, but let's be clear, their product is addiction." He also highlighted how administrations from three cities namely - San Francisco, Chicago, and New York had sent a joint letter to the FDA asking it to look into the matter and to investigate the effects of e-cigarettes on public health. According to anti-vaping activists, e-cigarette companies are deliberately targeting young people by offering flavored products.


The number of U.S. teenagers who admitted using tobacco products within the last 30 days rose by 36 percent - from 3.6 million to 4.9 million -  between the years 2017 and 2018 according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. They said that this clearly attributes this to the growth in e-cigarette usage. The University of Michigan study further highlighted that usage is also increasing even among students of grades as low as 8th grade. Among this group of user nicotine vaping increased from 3.5 percent to 6.1 percent, the study said.


Among Grade 10 students vaping usage rose from 8 percent to 16 percent. The study also points out that for students in grades 9 and through 12, the increases mean at least 1.3 million additional teenagers who also vaped. It also points out that marijuana vaping is also on the rise. The new proposed law comes in the back of some other measures enacted by the city's administrators. For example, last year San Francisco became the first US city to ban flavored tobacco and vaping liquids.


In addition to this, it already prevents smokeless tobacco from being used on playing fields. One of the most popular e-cigarette firms in the U.S., Juul, rents space on Pier 70, a major commercial hub. The firm said in a statement that it supported cutting vaping among young people but only in a way that eliminated access to regular cigarettes. It begged the question in a statement: This proposed legislation begs the question - why would the city be comfortable with combustible cigarettes being on shelves when we know they kill more than 480,000 Americans per year?

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