Juul loses home turf as San Francisco bans e-cigarette sales

Robie de Guzman   •   June 26, 2019   •   1362

A man smokes an electronic cigarette vaporizer, also known as an e-cigarette, in Toronto, in this August 7, 2015, file photo. REUTERS/Mark Blinch/Files

San Francisco will become the first major city in the United States to ban the sale of e-cigarettes as officials look to control the rapid uptick in teenage use of nicotine devices made by companies such as Juul Labs Inc.

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors approved the ordinance on Tuesday (June 25), banning the sale and distribution of e-cigarettes until they have approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

States and cities across the United States have already moved to ban flavored e-cigarettes and raise the legal age for purchasing tobacco products to 21, but San Francisco’s new approach is the most far-reaching yet.

No other major cities have proposed a similar hardline ban, though San Francisco’s move could lead others to consider it.

The city council in Beverly Hills, California, this month approved a ban on the sale of tobacco products beginning 2021, though it carved out exceptions for some cigar lounges and hotels.

Juul, which is based in San Francisco and has grown to be the dominant e-cigarette maker in the United States, has been at the center of the debate. As its sales soared over the last two years, so did its popularity among teenagers.

Federal data last year showed a 78% increase in e-cigarette use among U.S. high schoolers, and state and local lawmakers have been grappling with how to regulate Juul and other similar products.

E-cigarettes have existed in a regulatory gray area for years. Its makers originally faced a 2018 deadline to submit applications to the FDA to sell products, but the deadline was pushed back to 2022.

Amid the surge in teenage use, the FDA in March moved up that deadline to 2021. A separate court case from anti-tobacco groups may force the FDA to set an earlier deadline.

San Francisco Supervisor Shamann Walton, who sponsored the ordinance, said he has been constantly hearing from young people about e-cigarettes and “how readily available they are in schools, the fact that they’re easily hidden from educators.”

After Tuesday’s vote, Juul spokesman Ted Kwong said the ban “will drive former adult smokers who successfully switched to vapor products back to deadly cigarettes, deny the opportunity to switch for current adult smokers, and create a thriving black market instead of addressing the actual causes of underage access and use.”

He said the company has already taken steps to prevent underage use and has proposals of its own to prevent sales to minors in the city.

Juul, in which Marlboro maker Altria Group has a 35% stake, has pulled popular flavors such as mango and cucumber from retail store shelves and shut down its social media channels on Instagram and Facebook.

E-cigarettes are generally thought to be safer than traditional cigarettes, which kill up to half of all lifetime users, according to the World Health Organization, but the long-term health effects of the nicotine devices remain largely unknown. (REUTERS)

San Francisco rolls out RVs for self-isolation, amid coronavirus concerns for homeless

UNTV News   •   March 11, 2020

The city of San Francisco in the United States preemptively rolled out 30 recreational vehicles on Tuesday (March 19) it said would be used to house individuals who do not have their own home and have tested positive for COVID-19, the highly contagious and sometimes fatal respiratory illness caused by coronavirus.

The 30 vehicles, which cost just above $440,000, were rented through June, and were paid for by funds gained through Mayor London Breed’s emergency declaration, will be available to individuals identified through the Department of Public Health or through health care providers, Francis Zamora, director of external affairs for the city’s emergency management department, told reporters on Tuesday.

Zamora said the main purpose was to have the vehicles ready in the event that the virus spreads further, affecting the city’s most vulnerable, including some 8,000 people estimated to be living in shelters, on the streets, or with family and friends.

As of Tuesday, the city had 14 confirmed cases of coronavirus. Nationwide, almost three-quarters of U.S. states have confirmed COVID-19, with almost 1,000 cases in the United States and 29 deaths.

The vehicles, for now, will remain in the Presidio of San Francisco, a park on the northern tip of the city, but Zamora said they are still finalizing plans for where throughout the city the RVs would be deployed as well as how many RVs are sent out to different neighborhoods in groups.

In addition to the RVs, the city says it’s working with local hotels to find empty hotel rooms where individuals can quaranteine and self-isolate. Zamora said he did not have an exact number of the rooms that the city is targeting. (Reuters)

(Production: Nathan Frandino)

Duterte bans vaping in public places as expansion of nationwide smoking ban

Aileen Cerrudo   •   February 28, 2020

President Rodrigo Duterte officially prohibits vaping or the use of e-cigarettes in public places, based on the executive order signed on Wednesday (February 26).

Executive Order (EO) No. 106, which was released to the public on Friday (February 28), also covers the ban on selling e-cigarettes to minors.

It is also prohibited to distribute and sell e-cigarette products that are not registered with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This includes electronic nicotine and non-nicotine delivery systems.

The EO aims to prevent health risk to the public especially to non-smokers.—AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

Police to still arrest people who vape in public —NCRPO

Maris Federez   •   December 10, 2019

MANILA, Philippines— The National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) will still continue arresting people who vape in public places.

NCRPO acting director PBGen. Debold Sinas said that around 98 vapes had been confiscated and 98 had also been arrested.

He added that 812 vape stores have voluntarily closed down and 297 were urged by the NCRPO to stop selling.

Sinas also welcomed the report that the ban on the importation of vapes is now in effect, although he admitted that they have not received any directive on the matter.

“Wala pa kaming natanggap na directive so yung campaign namin ay tuloy tuloy lang po yun. Napansin mo medyo humina na nga ang nahuhuli eh. At tsaka kumukonti na rin kasi parang nasanay na rin. So sana tuloy tuloy na ito,” Sinas said.(from the report of Lea Ylagan) /mbmf

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