San Francisco E-Cigarette Ban


Photo Credit: Jessica Christian/The Chronicle

On June 25th of this year, San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors banned the sale and distribution of electronic cigarettes in San Francisco. This action was a preventative step to counter the use of e-cigarettes by the underage teen population. With an alarming increase of use of e-cigarettes by teenagers across the nation, public health officials have voiced their concerns on the potentially harmful effects caused by constant nicotine abuse. The side effects of nicotine on the developing adolescent brain are significantly worse than the effects of nicotine on the adult brain. For example, nicotine can cause lack of concentration and bouts of anxiety or depression. It is also easier for teens to get an addiction to nicotine, especially with flavors that make nicotine devices seem less harmful. Though this ban is a step in the right direction for the city, the company Juul, which is the biggest producer of e-cigarettes in the United States, worries it will also cause new challenges for San Francisco. They stated that by denying the distribution of e-cigarettes in the city, it does not directly address the problem of underage use, rather it restricts cigarette smokers from using a safer alternative. In addition, it may lead to people returning to deadly cigarettes after switching over to electronic cigarettes. It is also important to consider the economic effects of the ban. With e-cigarettes unavailable in the city, consumers may travel to neighboring cities or other areas in order to purchase e-cigarettes. This would take away from San Francisco’s revenue made off of taxed nicotine products. Furthermore, a black market for electronic cigarettes and other nicotine devices would be created, emphasizing Juul’s claim that the ban does little to address the actual cause of underage use. Although big companies such as Juul argue this ban is for the worst, it is obvious that the benefits outweigh the downsides, especially for the youth population. Even when e-cigarettes were being sold, for every one adult that benefited and stopped smoking actual cigarettes, a dozen teenagers were at risk of nicotine addiction. The well-being and health of our youth in our society should be a priority over the profit made by companies.


Explainer: The nico-teen brain