Following reports indicating such a plan was in the pipeline, San Francisco has become the first city in the United States to formally ban electronic cigarettes (“vapes”). The decision results from a vote officials held on Tuesday, and will — once the legislation is signed — result in a seven month period before the law goes into effect.
A number of public health officials and medical experts have raised concerns over the largely unknown health consequences associated with electronic cigarettes, also sometimes called nicotine vapes.
Though the products are generally regarded as safer than tobacco cigarettes, a growing number of studies indicate the devices come with their own potentially serious risks.
Critics cite the spike in teenage use of these devices, as well as the unknown long-term health effects associated with vaping. Some studies have found that nicotine solutions used with e-cigarettes cause inflammation and cellular changes hinting at serious future outcomes, with other studies have found that certain flavorings are largely responsible for these negative effects.
The FDA has been criticized for what some consider a lack of adequate and timely investigation into these products. The administration previously extended a deadline from 2018 to 2021 to give companies more time to prepare for getting their electronic cigarettes products evaluated, for example.
Critics of the new law, however, claim that the ban will simply cause a black market to thrive and will drive some vape users back to tobacco cigarettes.