RICHMOND (CBS SF) — Richmond Mayor Tom Butt plans to introduce an ordinance during Tuesday’s City Council meeting that would restrict the sale of electronic cigarette products until they have been reviewed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

City officials say the FDA is responsible for reviewing all new tobacco products that weren’t already on the market as of Feb. 15, 2007, but the FDA has fallen behind on enforcement of the Tobacco Control Act.

That process is intended to determine whether new products present risks to the general population, including people who do not use them. The FDA process also takes into account the likelihood of existing tobacco users giving up tobacco for alternative products, as well as the likelihood of nonsmokers taking up the use of tobacco alternatives.

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Nearly all vaping products have not yet gone through this review process, however, and this proposal would expand an existing prohibition on flavored tobacco products to include those products, until USDA reviews have been completed.

Related concerns led the San Francisco Board of Supervisors to restrict the sale of e-cigarettes in the city last month. The Coalition for Reasonable Vaping Regulation, largely funded by San Francisco-based e-cigarette manufacturer Juul Labs, then submitted more than 20,300 signatures to get an initiative on the November ballot to let voters decide on the e-cigarette ban.

If the initiative is approved, it would allow the sale of e-cigarettes, but would require stronger age restrictions to limit access to children and teens.

The Richmond City Council meeting starts at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday in the council chambers at 440 Civic Center Plaza.

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