By Christin Ayers


RICHMOND (KPIX 5) — Richmond is the latest Bay Area city to approve restrictions on sales of e-cigarettes after the city council unanimously passed the ban Tuesday evening.

“I think anything we can do to discourage the use of these vaping products and make it harder for people to acquire them, it’s a public health issue,” said Richmond mayor Tom Butt, who authored the ban.

Like similar bans in San Francisco and Livermore, the Richmond ban suspends sales of e-cigarette products until the Food and Drug Administration weighs in on vaping. Butt says there has been broad support for a ban, though some residents who spoke to KPIX 5 were skeptical.

“It’s un-American to ban things unless you’re going to ban guns. It’s killing a lot more people than e-cigarettes currently,” said Benjamin Najmark.

“If you have a ban you will have some people that will apply to it, but you’ll also have people who will just be angry and fight it,” said Mim Drake in Point Richmond.

Mayor Butt wants to see state and federal bans on vaping. On Wednesday, President Trump signaled that he is considering cracking down on flavored e-cigarette products to try to stop young people from using them in wake of recent reported deaths and illnesses.

In a statement, San Francisco-based e-cigarette giant Juul said,” We strongly agree with the need for aggressive, category-wide action on flavored products. We will fully comply with their final FDA policy when effective.”

But Juul is also fighting full e-cigarette bans in San Francisco and Livermore, supporting referendums in both cities to stop the bans.

Mayor Butt says it’s possible that Richmond will be targeted next.

“Juul has gotten hit so hard with so much negative publicity, you’d think at some point they might want rethink their business plan,” he said.

The Richmond e-cigarette ban will go into effect next year.

Christin Ayers

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