In June 2016, California passed a law to restrict the sales of tobacco products which included electronic cigarettes to adults of over 21 years of age. Yet officials argued that this was not enough. In their opinion, the fact that the flavoured products could still be purchased from convenience stores, allowed them to be visually accessible to young adults, hence enticing them to try the products.
Then in June 2017, the San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors decided in favour of a long disputed ban of all flavoured tobacco products, which is expected to go into effect on April 1, 2018.
A petition against the ban
Last Tuesday, the city’s supervisors voted to uphold the ban, and measure will now be added to the June 5, 2018, ballot. “Certain things are in place to prevent youths from purchasing and using tobacco products,” a spokesman for R.J. Reynolds said. “We think education and those measures should be pursued before government starts considering the prohibition and ban of legal products. History has shown prohibition does not work.”
The danger of denying harm reduction tools
Public health experts have been pointing out that banning flavours will have a detrimental effect on adult smokers who are trying to quit via vaping products. Many former smokers are encouraged to try the significantly safer products, because of the wide array of available flavours.
“The state—especially the Bay Area—is leaving smokers vulnerable to tobacco-related diseases that will kill nearly 4,000 Californians this month. Lawmakers who understand the value of harm reduction need to reconsider why they are taking away products that encourage smokers to move away from cigarettes.” said Harm Reduction Policy Director of nonprofit R Street Institute and former drug-abuse researcher at the University of Minnesota and the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla California, Carrie Wade, back in June.
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