June 6 (UPI) — San Francisco residents voted overwhelmingly to ban flavored all flavored tobacco products, including vape flavors, as well as menthol cigarettes on Tuesday.
Nearly 70 percent of voters approved the ban, despite tobacco company R.J. Reynolds paying $12 million to fight the ban against $2.8 million from those in favor of the ban, including a $1.8 million contribution from former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, according to CNBC.
“San Francisco’s groundbreaking law stands – and will stop the tobacco industry from targeting kids, African Americans and other populations with menthol- and candy-flavored products, as the industry has done for far too long,” Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids President Matthew Myers said in a statement. “The San Francisco vote gives a powerful boost to growing efforts around the country to end the sale of flavored tobacco products.”
R.J. Reynolds said the ban would have a negative impact on those who are trying to quit smoking by vaping.
Other opponents of the ban said it would hurt small business owners and push sales onto the black market.
“It’s disappointing that a majority of voters in San Francisco came to the conclusion that the best way to address an issue of concern, such as underage tobacco use, is a return to the policy of prohibition,” said Carlos Solórzano, CEO of the Hispanic Chambers of Commerce of San Francisco.
The ban is also expected to reduce tax revenue for the city.