San Francisco banned the sale of e-cigarettes on Tuesday, making it the first U.S. city to do so.
The sweeping restriction also puts San Francisco at odds with one of its most prominent hometown startups, Juul Labs, which last Tuesday said it bought an office building in San Francisco — the same day the city board unanimously backed the e-cigarette legislation in a preliminary vote.
Juul claims the legislation will "drive former adult smokers who successfully switched to vaping products back to deadly cigarettes." It will also "deny the opportunity to switch for current adult smokers, and create a thriving black market instead of addressing the actual causes of underage access and use," said Juul spokesman Ted Kwong.
The company's small 'pod' device, just longer than a flash drive, has about 70% of the US vaping market.
Traditional tobacco products will "remain untouched by this legislation, even though they kill 40,000 Californians every year," he said.
The legislation now awaits the signature of San Francisco's mayor, London Breed. It takes effect in six months, which will give time for retailers to remove the product from their shelves, and subject offending retailers to fines and other penalties, including jail time.
They have also made it illegal for online retailers to deliver to addresses in the city.
In the UK Doctors, public health experts, cancer charities and governments all agree that, based on the current evidence, e-cigarettes carry a fraction of the risk of cigarettes. 95% less harmful than smoking.
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