San Francisco has moved a step closer to becoming the first-ever city in the United States to ban all sales of e-cigarettes amid its crackdown of vaping among the youth.

The supervisors unanimously approved of a ban on the sale and distribution of electronic cigarettes. The ban also applies for e-cigarette manufacturing on city property. These measures still require a subsequent vote in order for it to become a law.

“We spent the ‘90s battling big tobacco, and now we see its new form through e-cigarettes. I’m not going to put profits of big tobacco over the health of our children and our young people. The ordinance is not a permanent ban, ” said Supervisor Shamann Walton. “Companies like Juul have had three years to submit their product and marketing to the FDA. The question is why haven’t they? And the answer is because they want to protect their profits to continue targeting and harming our young people.”

While the supervisors acknowledged that the proposed bill would not entirely prevent the youth from vaping, they hope that it will be a start.

“This is about thinking about the next generation of users and thinking about protecting the overall health and sending a message to the rest of the state and the country: Follow our lead,” another supervisor, Ahsha Safaí, said.

Dennis Herrera, the City Attorney, has stated that young people “have almost indiscriminate access to a product that shouldn’t even be on the market.” Considering the fact that the Food and Drug Administration hasn’t finished research to asses the public health consequences of electronic cigarettes, and haven’t approved or rejected them either, Herrera perpetuates that, “it’s, unfortunately, falling to states and localities to step into the breach.”

Most experts agree that electronic cigarettes are less harmful than the paper-and-tobacco variety of cigarettes because they do not produce the carcinogenic, or cancer-causing, byproducts found in cigarette smoke. However, researchers have also said that they are just now beginning to understand the risks of electronic cigarettes, which they think could damage the lungs and blood vessels.

Since 2014, electronic cigarettes have been the most commonly used tobacco product among the youth in the country. Last year, it was found that 1 out of 5 high school students reported vaping in the previous month, according to the government-issued survey

Leading San Francisco-based electronic cigarette company, Juul, also said that it has taken steps to deter underaged youth from using their products. Juul has said in a statement that it has made its online age-verification process more strict that they have shut down their Instagram and Facebook accounts in an attempt to discourage vaping among those who are under 21.

“But the prohibition of vapor products for all adults in San Francisco will not effectively address underage use and will leave cigarettes on the shelves as the only choice for adult smokers, even though they kill 40,000 Californians every year,” Juul spokesman, Ted Kwong, told Forbes in a statement.

Vaping San Francisco may be the first city to ban e-cigarettes after supervisors unanimously approved of an ordinance banning the sale and distribution of e-cigarettes. The move was made in an attempt to deter under-aged people from buying and smoking electronic cigarettes as it may be detrimental to their health. Photo: Lindsay Fox / Pixabay