San Francisco became the first city to ban flavored e-cigarettes with the stated intention of discouraging underage vaping, however, a new study suggests that it had an unintended effect, driving minors to smoking cigarettes instead.
If you live in San Francisco, not only are you unable to buy vape products anywhere, not even at an age restricted 21+ vape shop, but you can't even get them delivered to you in the mail as online sales are also banned.
But here's the kicker. San Francisco still allows cigarettes to be sold at every corner store.
What could possibly go wrong?
Well, a new study just published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that, after the ban went into effect, high school students were picking up cigarettes at a rate nearly double what is seen in other cities.
"San Francisco’s flavor ban was associated with more than doubled odds of recent smoking among underage high school students relative to concurrent changes in other districts," the study's authors wrote.
In other words, San Francisco's flavored vape ban backfired. Instead of just discouraging teen vaping, it appears to have led to a rise in teen smoking.
"This raises concerns that reducing access to flavored electronic nicotine delivery systems may motivate youths who would otherwise vape to substitute smoking. Indeed, analyses of how minimum legal sales ages for electronic nicotine delivery systems are associated with youth smoking also suggest such substitution," the study concluded.
It would appear that San Francisco's flavored vape ban managed to hurt not only adult vapers looking for an alternative to cigarettes, but also minors, the demographic the ban was supposedly designed to protect.
Good job, San Francisco. Let's hope that other cities learn from your insanity so they are not doomed to repeat it.
P.S. On a recent trip to San Francisco, I was surprised and more than a little outraged to find packages of candy cigarettes for sale in the shop of a big name candy purveyor near Fisherman's Wharf. Yes, kids can buy CANDY CIGARETTES in San Francisco but an adult can't even get vape products delivered in the mail--even if they show I.D. and sign for the package.