Earlier this month, the US FDA issued its much-anticipated guidelines with regards to new restrictions on vaping products, banning most flavored products from certain retail outlets and moving the infamous PMTA deadline forward by a year.
In response to this the office of San Francisco City Attorney is proposing a bill which would ban the sales of all e-cigarettes until this process is complete. “By law, before a new tobacco product goes to market, the Food and Drug Administration is supposed to conduct a review to evaluate its impact on public health. Inexplicably, the FDA has failed to do its job when it comes to e-cigarettes,” said City Attorney Dennis Herrera.
“Until the FDA does so, San Francisco has to step up. These products should not be on our shelves until the FDA has reviewed the threat they pose to public health,” he added. And since there is not a single e-cigarette on the market that has undergone such an approval process, this means that the bill would ban the sale of all electronic cigarettes in San Francisco.
Siegel says that these efforts are only about appearances
In response to this announcement, Public Health Expert Dr. Michael Siegel wrote, “This has to be one of the most insane public health proposals I have ever seen. This legislation basically says: “We care so much about the health of our kids that we can’t allow e-cigarettes to remain on the market until they have a complete safety review. However, we are perfectly happy allowing cigarettes—which have had extensive safety reviews and been found to be killing hundreds of thousands of Americans each year—to remain on the market.””
Siegel added that clearly this motion is only about appearances, “Let us be honest. We care enough about our kids to take the politically expedient step of making it look like we are truly protecting their health by banning e-cigarettes, but we don’t care about our kids so much that we want to actually protect them by removing from the market a product that we know is going to kill half of those kids who become addicted to it.”
Is protecting teens truly the concern?
The harm reduction advocate said that if protecting kids was truly the concern, the Board of Supervisors would immediately remove cigarettes, the product already known to be deadly, rather than picking about e-cigarettes when they are proven to be safer.
“And what’s the point of such a safety review? We already have a safety review of cigarettes and know that they are deadly. And in light of that, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors nevertheless feels perfectly comfortable allowing those products to be sold. Do they think that electronic cigarettes are actually more hazardous than cigarettes? Of course not. They know full well that e-cigarettes are far safer than the real ones,” added Siegel.