By David Matthews
The San Francisco board of supervisors effectively banned the sale of e-cigarettes in the city after passing a new ordinance.
The ban is the first of its kind for a major U.S. city.
Under the ordinance, "no person shall sell or distribute an electronic cigarette to a person in San Francisco" without first passing a Food and Drug Administration review, which no e-cigarette brand has done.
The ban covers physical sales as well as online sales shipped to the city. However, people over the age of 21 are not banned from vaping in the city.
Mayor London Breed is expected to sign the new law after she previously expressed support.
"I support the legislation authored by City Attorney Dennis Herrera and Supervisor Shamann Walton to suspend the sale of e-cigarettes in San Francisco until the Food and Drug Administration concludes a review of the impacts of vaping on public health," said Breed.
"There is so much we don't know about the health impacts of these products, but we do know that e-cigarette companies are targeting our kids in their advertising and getting them hooked on addictive nicotine products. We need to take action to protect the health of San Francisco's youth and prevent the next generation of San Franciscans from becoming addicted to these products."
Critics contend that the ban will remove a less-harmful alternative to tobacco cigarettes from consumers.
Juul Labs, maker of the popular Juul e-cig, is backing a ballot initiative that could roll back the ordinance if it receives enough votes.
A Juul representative 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."
"Youth vaping is an epidemic," Herrera said. "If the federal government is not going to act to protect our kids, San Francisco will."
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