Setting the new bar.
The City of San Francisco has long been known as a progressive environment, as well as an ally to tobacco control and advocacy. Recently, the Board of Supervisors moved to again protect San Franciscans from tobacco use and nicotine addiction by banning the sale of all flavored tobacco products.
Many non-cigarette combustible, and non-combustible products are flavored. Flavors are a main attraction to children when it comes to tobacco product initiation. This attraction is born from the association of ‘candy-like’ flavors being acceptable for youth consumption (i.e. bubblegum, tropical punch, strawberry, etc). These flavorings can be and are present in both combustible and non-combustible (i.e. vapor products) tobacco products. Flavors in tobacco products can also make smoke less harsh. This attracts more users and causes those users to inhale more deeply. The infamous cigarette ‘filter’ is the same base concept. Inhaling tobacco smoke more deeply not only worsens health outcomes, but makes the user more addicted.
Planning for the future.
By passing this groundbreaking legislation, the City of San Francisco plans for a brighter future. Not only will less children be addicted to tobacco products, but the decrease in initiation has the potential to bring about astronomic savings. Tobacco use costs the city approximately $380 million a year in lost productivity and healthcare expenditures.
Given that this law is a huge public health regime change, it has a significant roll-out period. This roll-out period will help retailers of tobacco products reposition themselves in their sales environment. The city also plans to provide assistance to retailers during the transition. The new flavor-ban law will go into effect on April 1, 2018.