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San Francisco could become the nation's first city banning flavored tobacco products from all store shelves. The ban covers everything from sugar-flavored e-cigarettes to conventional menthol fumes.
The city regulators unanimously approved a ban on products last year, but the tobacco industry funded a referendum, Proposition E, to put the issue before voters. Residents of San Francisco will vote on June 5 to decide if the ordinance will come into effect.
More than $ 11 Million to Defeat
The R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. is showering the city with commercials – on the radio, television, online, and by mail – urging No to Proposition E. Recent campaign finance contributions show that the tobacco giant producing Newport Menthol is the nation's top selling mint flavored cigarette has contributed more than $ 11 million to the No on E campaign in San Francisco.
Some The anti-E commercials show vintage movie clips of people who smash barrels during prohibition and argue that this approach is consumption of alcohol and drugs would not stop and also would not work for flavored tobacco.
San Francisco-based Donna Anderson agrees. Although she does not smoke herself, she protested in the name of the No-on-E campaign during a recent rally near San Francisco's City Hall.
"They drive sales only underground," says Anderson. "It will not stop people from getting what they want or use what they want."
Using the example of marijuana laws, it shows how a black market can hurt people the most.
"Black people, Latino people – people were imprisoned and are still incarcerated, they have little marijuana left," she says.
In the Mission Smoke Shop, Sam Azar has the walls of his shop with "No-on-E" signs.
"It will hurt me as a small business here in the city – like 30 percent or more," predicts Azar.
The bill would eliminate its profits from the sale of flavored pipe tobacco, flavored waterpipes, infused cigars, and the syrupy vape liquids that line numerous shelves. There are more than 7,000 sweet and savory e-cigarette flavors on the market – flavors like Gummi Bear, Unicorn Milk, Red Bull and Nat-Cho Cheese.
A Gate to Cigarettes?
Physicians are worried about the role of these flavors and fragrances when young people are trying to consume nicotine and get used to cigarettes – perhaps the potential benefits that adult smokers outweigh the benefits of using cigarettes Could get products.
Lesley McClurg / KQED
Derek Smith, director of the Tobacco Free Project at the San Francisco Department of Public Health, says flavors and menthol mask the taste of tobacco and facilitate the inhalation of nicotine.
"Someone who has tried a cigarette The first time it often turns green and coughs," says Smith. "Imagine a milk-flavored muesli inhalation that's much less harsh right from the start."
Nearly all youth in the state start their tobacco habits with a flavored product, Smith says, and this worries physicians who recently met "yes-on-e" rally on the steps of City Hall.
"The tobacco industry has sent menthol cigarettes to the black community, to poor people, to mothers," says Dr. Amanda Wright, an internist at the University of California, San Francisco and Resident. "And when you look at these products," she says, "they literally look like candy – and that clearly targets our kids."
At the rally, Wright stood beside a table full of rows of juice boxes and candy wrappers. They looked like sugary snacks but were actually vaping products.
Nicotine and the Teenage Brain
Pam Ling, a professor of UCSF medicine that deals with smoking behavior and its effects, makes nicotine particularly addictive to the teen's brain.
"This population is the future of the tobacco industry," says Ling. "Industry decades ago realized that if they did not have children, [the industry] would become extinct."
According to the California Department of Public Health, the number of children in California is currently about twice as high. But research suggests that many of these children will soon smoke cigarettes.
"Once these children start using e-cigarettes, the likelihood that they smoke cigarettes about a year later will increase by a factor of three or four," says Stanton Glantz, director of the Center for Research and Education in the area Tobacco Control at UCSF.
Glantz says that about one-third of children who start smoking nicotine over e-cigarettes are not the same kind of children, whose race, gender, home life, and school performance would make them at high risk, alone smoking .
In other words, vaping increases the pool of teenagers. According to a US Surgeon General's 2016 report, student use of e-cigarettes increased 900 percent between 2011 and 2015. Currently there is very little regulation of e-products at the federal level.
Glantz also claims that a ban on eating will help adults who think they inhale a much safer alternative.
"When e-cigarettes first became available, there was much hope that they would be better than cigarettes," says Glantz, "but the more we learn, the worse they look."
Though the long-term health effects Glantz believes the safety of appliances has been oversold
"Electronic smoke products emit particles of chemicals, not clean air and technically an aerosol, not steam," says Smith. "Think of smog or hair spray – not the pure steam that steams when your teapot whistles."
These ultrafine particles and toxins can damage the lungs and lead to heart attacks. The amounts of particulates in the vapors produced by some devices may be lower than in tobacco smoke, but are not zero.
If San Francisco voters pass the ban on flavoring, it becomes one of the strictest restrictions on e-cigarettes in the United States; Opponents of the measure fear a precedent.
This story was authored by Science and Health Team at KQED.