San Francisco has become the first US city to ban sales of e-cigarettes until their health effects are clearer. Officials have voted to ban stores selling the vaporisers and have made it illegal for online retailers to deliver to addressesin the city, according to a report by BBC News.
Juul Labs, the most popular e-cigarette producer in the US, warned the move would drive smokers back to cigarettes and “create a thriving black market”.
Critics say more scientific investigation into the health impact of e-cigarettes is needed, and that vaping can encourage young people to switch to cigarettes.
Earlier this year the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the national regulator, issued proposed guidelines giving companies until 2021 to apply to have their e-cigarette products evaluated.
A deadline had initially been set for August 2018, but the agency later said more preparation time was needed.
San Francisco’s City Attorney, Dennis Herrera, who campaigned for a ban, said the move was necessary because of an “abdication of responsibility” by the FDA in regulating e-cigarettes.
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of US teenagers who admitted using nicotine products rose about 36% last year, something it attributed to a growth in e-cigarette use.
But Juul argued San Francisco’s ban would drive former adult smokers who successfully switched to vaping products back to cigarettes.