DALY CITY (KCBS) – The mayor of Daly City said Friday his community needs to take a stand against the growing number of vape stores fleeing south as neighboring San Francisco considers an e-cigarette ban.

Mayor David Canepa and others are concerned about the appeal e-cigarettes hold for children, despite age restrictions on who can enter the so-called vape stores that have popped up around Daly City.

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“Several of these stores are conveniently located next to schools,” he said, pointing to Vape Dreams at 16 Washington Street, just across from Holy Angel School.

There is another vape store down the street in the other direction, and yet another less than ten blocks from the school. Canepa believes the possibility of an e-cigarette ban in San Francisco could push even more into his city.

“They’re going to look at a place that is convenient to San Francisco and what is that? That’s Daly City,” he said.

Canepa plans to ask the council to consider a moratorium on vape stores or an amendment to the smoking code that addresses e-cigarettes, which are currently unregulated anywhere since by themselves they contain no tobacco.

E-cigarettes are basically a cartridge that, when turned on, heats up liquid that produces an aerosol mist or vapor that the user inhales. The term vaping refers to the lack of combustion.

The liquid inside the cartridge can contain nicotine or just a flavor.

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At Vape Dreams, there are 60 to choose from that can be sampled in a lounge. Co-owner Kevin Vo said the store has no interest in marketing to kids, noting a sign near the front door prohibiting anyone under 18 from entering.

“We are running a business here, and we’re trying to do it in the right way, in a respectful fashion to the neighborhood,” Vo said.

His first customer of the day, Michael Casuga, sees e-cigarettes as a way to give up smoking by gradually cutting back on the amount of nicotine each week.

“Basically, I’m trying to quit,” he said. “I’ve been trying to figure out methods, patches, everything.”

Vo said heavy smokers start off using cartridges with a high level of nicotine, and can wean themselves off.
“There’s plenty of people that completely quit smoking, but they continue to vape at a zero nicotine level,” he said.

The trend is disturbing, said Daly city resident and community activist Pamela Di iovani, particularly the neon colors of the cartridges and flavors with names such as gummy bears.

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“Teachers are even finding it in the schools, where they’re bringing it in as an accessory like an iPad. And there’s no smell, and you would never know it as a teacher or as a parent.”