The SAAFE Act was introduced by Councilmember Marni von Wilpert, and bans flavoured vaping and tobacco products with the exception of premium flavoured cigars, flavoured loose-leaf tobacco, and hookah.
Meanwhile the Neighborhood Market Association, have cited data from San Francisco, indicating that banning flavoured vapes just encourages former smokers who had switched to vaping, to revert to smoking. And while this study was discredited by Jonathan Winickoff, director of pediatric research at Massachusetts General Hospital’s distinguished Tobacco Research & Treatment Center, yet another study reported similar findings.
San Francisco’s flavour ban led to increased smoking rates
Published in JAMA Pediatrics, the second study found that following San Francisco’s flavour ban, teenagers in the city’s high schools were more likely to take up smoking than teenagers in US school districts where no flavour bans were imposed. While prior to the ban, smoking rates in San Francisco were similar to those of many cities across the country.
“To understand this conceptually, think about youth preferences between tobacco products,” said study author Abigail Friedman, an assistant professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management at the Yale School of Public Health, in a statement. “Among youths who vape, some likely prefer ENDS to combustible products because of the flavors.”
Many vapers say they would go back to smoking if flavours are restricted
A 2019 online survey of 240 young U.S. adults aged 18 to 29, asking participants about any changes in tobacco use behaviour in response to restrictions, had predicted these figures. The survey had asked hypothetical questions about flavour bans and nicotine limits, to which about 47% said they would increase their use of traditional cigarettes.
About 22% said that if regulations limited the customizability of devices, they would vape less and smoke more tobacco cigarettes, and 17% said that if e-liquid flavours were to be limited to tobacco and menthol flavours, they would vape less and smoke more traditional cigarettes.