SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera on Tuesday announced several measures being taken to rid the city of what he says is an “epidemic” of the use of electronic cigarettes by young people.
Not only do lawmakers want e-cigarettes off store shelves, one city supervisor wants Juul, an e-cigarette manufacturer, out of his district.
“Not in our district, not in San Francisco, and really, not around young people. There’s no place for it at all,” said San Francisco supervisor Shamann Walton, taking specific aim at Juul, a company now facing what amounts to a dual-front attack from its home city of San Francisco.
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“What San Francisco is saying today, is FDA do your job,” explains Jon Coté, a spokesman with the San Francisco City Attorney’s Office. “We want the FDA to immediately review the public health impacts of these products.”
That new legislation would remove e-cigarette products from San Francisco store shelves. Another proposed piece of legislation from Supervisor Walton wouldn’t remove Juul from its current home at Pier 70 (owned by the city), but it would prevent e-cigarette companies from leasing city property.
The second proposed bill would also prevent e-cigarette companies from expanding on city property if they continue to engage in prohibited activity, including the sale, manufacture and distribution of all tobacco products on the property.
“I want that business out of my district. The neighbors, the community they want to business out of the district,” Walton says.
The Juul headquarters actually sits on land owned by the Port of San Francisco, so the city does have some authority.
Walton says Juul’s partnerships with the maker of Marlboro cigarettes makes the current situation, unsustainable.
“At the end of the day, they have people addicted to nicotine, young people addicted to nicotine that would have never picked up a cigarette if it were not for their predatory practices in terms putting products out there that entice young people,” said Walton.
Juul Labs declined to speak with KPIX on camera, but they issued the following statement:
“We share the City of San Francisco’s concerns with youth usage of tobacco and vapor products, including our own. That is why we have taken aggressive action nationwide, including stopping the sale of flavored products to retailers and supporting strong, restrictive category wide regulation to keep e-cigarettes out of the hands of youth. But this proposed legislation’s primary impact will be to limit adult smokers’ access to products that can help them switch away from combustible cigarettes. We encourage the City of San Francisco to severely restrict youth access but do so in a way that preserves the opportunity to eliminate combustible cigarettes. This proposed legislation begs the question – why would the City be comfortable with combustible cigarettes being on shelves when we know they kill more than 480,000 Americans per year?”