Protecting Our Youth: San Francisco Bans E-Cigarettes in Landmark Vote

A San Francisco civic ordinance, file #190312, signed by Mayor London Breed effectively bans the sale of e-cigarettes in the city. Unanimously passed by the board of supervisors, this landmark legislation is the first of its kind in the United States.

Even though the ruling will not be enforced until January, 2020, it is considered effective as of July, 2019. This grace period allows for the transition and gradual shift in sales and operations for local businesses.

The ordinance prohibits the sale of electronic cigarettes and flavored tobacco products without Food and Drug Administration (FDA) review prior to marketing. No e-cigarette on the market has been granted such approval.

The ban on e-cigarette sales is a result of unregulated purchases by youth and the risks posed to public health. “There is so much we don’t know about the health impacts of these products,” warns Breed, “but we do know that e-cigarette companies are targeting our kids in their advertising and getting them hooked on nicotine products.” 

San Francisco is home to Juul Labs, an e-cigarette company providing an alternative to conventional cigarettes. As a result of effective brand messaging, affordability, and availability, Juul’s popularity among teens has surged. The ordinance has created debate as to the potential benefits of vaping over smoking. Critics of the ruling claim that restrictioning e-cigarette sales eliminates a smoking-alternative, creating a demand for more easily attainable cigarettes. 

Undeterred by this ordinance, Juul spokesman Ted Kwong has outlined Juul’s plans to promote “new strict regulation and enforcement, instead of prohibition” by including electronic age-verification technologies, limiting the amount of product which can be purchased in a single transaction, and implementing stricter control over permits for online sellers of vaping products. Kwong has stated that the company is firmly against youth using its products. Juul targets “adult smokers who successfully switched to vapor products.” As such, the company is concerned that the new ordinances might drive those adult consumers “back to deadly cigarettes, deny the opportunity to switch for current adult smokers, and create a thriving black market instead of addressing the actual causes of underage access and use.”

“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, even though they kill 40,000 Californians every year,” alleges the company.

Regardless of politics, the long-term effects of vaping are yet unknown and compared to conventional cigarettes, the health risks are not well understood. A ban on e-cigarettes  reflects the trend of non-smoking in general for improving health. Preventing another generation from smoking is also a step in the right direction.

Are you trying to quit smoking, or concerned about its health impacts? CONTACT US TODAY! Advanced Health is here to help. Let’s work together to get you on the path to lifelong wellness.



City and County of San Francisco Board of Supervisors, Retrieved August 2019 from

CNN, CNN Health, Retrieved August 2019 from

Engadget, Retrieved August 2019 from

Dr. Payal Bhandari Dr. Payal Bhandari M.D. is a leading practitioner of integrative and functional medicine in San Francisco.

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