Prop C on the ballot

Shelley Wang

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San Francisco’s consolidated municipal election is coming up Nov. 5 and on the ballot is Proposition C, which if approved would overturn a San Francisco ordinance suspending the sale of electronic cigarettes and other nicotine vapor products in the city. 

Juul, an electronic cigarette company based in San Francisco and arguably a major Prop C supporter, spent $18.6 million to back the measure until they announced at the end of September they would cease active support of Prop C. 

“We must strive to work with regulators, policymakers and other stakeholders, and earn the trust of the societies in which we operate,” K.C. Crosthwaite, Juul CEO, said in a statement posted by Juul  “That includes inviting an open dialogue, listening to others and being responsive to their concerns.”

On July 10, the Department of Elections stated the petition for Prop C will be placed on the ballot due to the fact that it had a sufficient number of valid signatures to qualify.

If voters turn down Prop. C, San Francisco will keep its existing laws that regulate e-cigarettes, suspending their sale beginning next year until they receive FDA authorization and adopt new regulations on the sale, manufacture, distribution and advertising of e-cigarettes in San Francisco.

A vote against Prop C would keep existing laws regulating electronic cigarettes. The law currently prohibits the retail sale of tobacco products to people under age 21, the sale of e-cigarettes and flavored tobacco products.

“I don’t think the ban has drastically lowered the use of e-cigarettes amongst kids. I think if kids want it they just have to find another way to get it and it’s much less safer than getting it from a licensed realtor,” said SF Student Christina Rolfe.

According to the FDA (Food and Drug Administration), e-cigarette use, from 2017 to 2018, increased 78 percent among high school students (11.7% to 20.8%) and 48 percent among middle school students (3.3% to 4.9%) from 2017 to 2018. 

SF Kids vs. Big Tobacco says that Juul/Big Tobacco targets kids with flavored tobacco products to get kids hooked on tobacco and nicotine and that Juul paid social influencers on social media and kids paid attention. 

“I think people are finding ways around the bans and they might as well just vote yes and get the tax money from it,” said Rolfe. 

The city of San Francisco has actively tried to promote No on Prop C, which will ultimately come down to voters during the upcoming election.