In 2018, San Francisco voters approved a ban on flavoured tobacco products. The main target of the ban was menthol cigarettes, but supporters of the ban were also convinced that e-liquid flavours were luring young people into a lifetime of nicotine addiction.
Titled, “The Impact of a Comprehensive Tobacco Flavour Ban in San Francisco Among Young Adults,” the current study was conducted with the aim of determining the impact of the ban on tobacco use behavior. A sample of 247 San Francisco residents were surveyed about their e-cigarette and tobacco use, before and after the flavour ban.
SF’s flavour ban led to a spike in smoking rates
The flavour ban did lead to a decline in e-cigarettes and cigars sales, but it sadly also caused a spike in smoking rates.
The study found that while the ban did lead to a decline in e-cigarettes and cigars sales, it sadly also caused a spike in smoking rates. Additionally, the researchers also found that the measure was not enforced properly and 65% of participants reported being able to obtain flavoured products in multiple ways.
“These findings suggest that comprehensive local flavor bans, by themselves, cannot sharply reduce the availability or use of flavored tobacco products among residents. Nevertheless, local bans can still significantly reduce overall e-cigarette use and cigar smoking but may increase cigarette smoking,” concluded the study.
Vapers turned to other nicotine products
These figures are not surprising and were in fact predicted by San Francisco’s chief economist Ted Egan. Egan’s office is regularly asked to analyze the economic impact of legislations in San Francisco, reports of which are then sent to the Board of Supervisors and made public on the Controller’s Office website.
In a revealing interview published on the San Francisco Chronicle on May 15th 2019, Egan had pointed out that the ban would have no material effect on the city’s economy. He had explained that the money previously spent on vaping products would still be spent in the city- on other nicotine products, such as conventional cigarettes.
Read Further: CVA