SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — Proposition E may be one of the most visible campaigns of this election season. The proposed ban on flavored nicotine in San Francisco is endorsed by health officials, but others say it hurts local retailers.
Lately, a fight has been heating up in San Francisco to ban flavored cigarettes.
Erin Henke with the San Francisco-Marin Medical Society said, “They’re targeting children…who do you think these products are geared towards?”
A group of medical professionals gathered in front of San Francisco City Hall on Thursday morning to show off the kind of products they would like to ban with Proposition E.
There were flavored cigars as well as vaping juices, which are packaged to look like cookies and juice boxes.
Pam Ling, a San Francisco physician and medical researcher, said, “Flavored tobacco makes it easier for kids to start. It makes the smoke easier to inhale and it makes people think that the tobacco products are safer.”
Proposition E would ban the sale of any flavored smoking product, including menthol cigarettes, within city limits.
But the tobacco industry has responded with an advertising campaign comparing Proposition E to the Prohibition movement.
Opponents of the measure say kids are already getting smoke products illegally and the ban would only prevent adults from buying, which would hurt local retailers.
Local retailers, like smoke shop owner Rashid Aboud, who owns Tobacco Barn Smoke Shop. He said only adults come into his shop.
Jerrett Johnson, a smoker and a San Francisco resident said, “They’re not getting it from the smoke shops…they’re getting it from the Internet. So, to stop this outright, isn’t going to happen.”
Supporters of Proposition E say the tobacco industry has already spent more than $11 million on ads to try to defeat it and they expect to see a lot more between now and Election Day.