The City of Berkeley is only the latest to introduce local legislation that attempts to ban the sales of favored e-liquids and menthol tobacco products to its citizens. San Francisco was the first, and several other local municipalities are following suit, including Oakland, San Leandro, Contra Costa County, and now Berkeley. And some vaping advocates close to the situation are even hearing tales of possible flavor ban legislation occurring in San Jose in the very near future, as well.
When the flavor ban rule was first proposed in the Bay Area, the community awareness group Let’s Be Real, San Francisco (LBRSF) was immediately formed. The organization had one initial objective. To force a voter referendum on the issue. But first, they would need to acquire some 19,040 signatures on a petition.
LBRSF was successful, securing 34,000 signatures in total, which is well over the threshold limit. Now the SanFrancisco flavor ban legislation is heading towards a June 2018 referendum by way of the ballot box. However, cities like Berkley may be trying to take advantage of the situation by implementing their own forms of anti-vaping laws.
Flavor bans spreading like wildfire?
The SanFrancisco referendum has nothing to do with the other pieces of anti-vaping legislation popping up all over the state of California, and the City of Berkeley knows it. Even if the Bay Area ban is successfully overturned in June, the Berkeley ban will likely still move forward. It’s a multi-front war on vaping that may be heading to a neighborhood near you.
When Rasta Vapors contacted Stefan Didak of NotBlowingSmoke.org for his opinion on the Berkeley proposal, he issued the following statement.
"Another city, another flavor ban introduced, and another attack on access and availability of vapor products for those who need them the most. I'm sure we will see the same strategic approach by the various tobacco control organizations by engaging in identity politics and throwing vapor in as a casualty of their war on menthol cigarettes".
The fear of vaping advocates like Didak is that the San Francisco ban is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Historically, California is often one of the more liberal and progressive states in the country. And if this anti-vaping movement continues to gain a stronghold in California, it may soon travel cross country to Middle America and the East Coast.
We encourage vapers from all states to get involved. Consumer Advocates for Smoke Free Alternatives Association (CASAA) and the American Vaping Association (AVA) are also promoting LBRSF on their related websites. And Pamela Gorman of the Smoke-Free Alternatives Trade Association (SFATA) has recently published a membership communication emphasizing the national urgency of repealing the San Francisco flavor ban, regardless of your state of current residence.