“People really have a big dislike and big distrust for Big Tobacco companies and are not fooled by propaganda and tactics,” said Gil Duran, the spokesman for Campaign Yes on Proposition E.
Greg Conley, president of the American Vaping Association didn’t see it that way.
“It is a travesty that anti-vaping extremists would mislead SF voters into making it harder for adult smokers to quit,” he said, adding that flavored products are helpful to smokers who are trying to quit.
But, enough signatures were gathered to put the ordinance to a referendum before the city’s voters, which led to its placement on Tuesday’s ballot.
Public health advocates have backed such bans, saying that candy-flavored tobacco products entice kids and teenagers and addict a new generation. Organizations like the American Heart Association, American Cancer Society and American Lung Association supported Proposition E, maintaining that it would protect kids.
“San Francisco’s youth are routinely bombarded with advertising for flavored tobacco and e-cigarettes every time they walk into a neighborhood convenience store. It’s clear that these products with candy themes and colorful packaging are geared towards teens,” the American Lung Association stated.
But those who opposed the measure said banning the flavored products was an overreach that infringed on adult choices.
“Telling adults what they can and can’t do isn’t effective,” opponents stated in its argument before voters, adding that California had already raised the legal age for buying tobacco to 21.
They also framed the measure as harming small businesses like neighborhood corner stores.
Patrick Reynolds, the executive director of Foundation for Smokefree America, said that R.J. Reynolds, the tobacco company that his grandfather started, had spent a lot of money fighting the ban because it’s concerned that if it passes in San Francisco, other cities will follow suit.
The company didn’t respond to messages from CNN.
“Big tobacco sees vaping as their future,” Reynolds, an anti-tobacco advocate said. “They are very afraid this is going to pass and 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. We will start to turn the tide against vaping.”
CNN’s Susan Scutti contributed to this report.
News credit : Cnn