San Francisco residents voted Tuesday to ban flavored tobacco products in the city by a 70 percent majority in a ballot measure.
R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company spent almost $12 million to fight against the ban and supporters raised about $3 million, including $2 million from former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg, Fortune reported. The ban also includes flavored vaping products, menthol cigarettes, flavored hookah tobacco, and infused cigars.
Proponents of the ban said flavored tobacco products are too attractive to children and that “many of the packages are designed to look exactly like popular kids candies like Sour Patch Kids, Jolly Ranchers and Gummy Bears,” Fortune reported.
American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network of California Manager Jim Knox said the ban could easily lead to other cities copying it.
“What happens in San Francisco often doesn’t stay in San Francisco,” Knox said, Fortune reported.
“People really have a big dislike and big distrust for Big Tobacco companies and are not fooled by propaganda and tactics,” Campaign Yes on Proposition E spokesman Gil Duran said, CNN reported.
The President of the American Vaping Association disagreed. “It is a travesty that anti-vaping extremists would mislead SF voters into making it harder for adult smokers to quit,” Greg Conley said, CNN reported.
Oakland has already banned flavored tobacco products. California residents must be 21 years old to buy any tobacco products.
“Big tobacco sees vaping as their future. ... If the voters make an informed decision to side with the health community, it will lead to hopefully a tidal wave of cities doing what SF did because the FDA did nothing,” anti-tobacco advocate Patrick Reynolds said, CNN reported.
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