SAN FRANCISCO, Calif - The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) issues this statement from Managing Director Jim Knox following the resounding defeat last night of Proposition C on the San Francisco ballot, which, if passed, would have reversed critical progress in the fight to curb youth use of flavored tobacco products, including e-cigarettes.
“The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) applauds voters’ overwhelming opposition to Juul-funded Prop. C yesterday. It is an enormous relief to parents and public health officials alike that store shelves in the city and county of San Francisco will continue to be free of all flavored tobacco products. This includes candy, fruit and mint flavored e-cigarettes, menthol cigarettes and any other flavored tobacco products including cigars.
“We commend San Francisco voters for soundly defeating Prop. C yesterday by an 80% margin—sending a clear message to Juul and other tobacco companies that our kids are not to be exploited and turned into tobacco addicts. In a show of force, voters sided with public health and against Juul, who the Federal Drug Administration says triggered a nationwide youth e-cigarette epidemic with its pods that deliver a highly addictive and powerful nicotine punch.
“If passed, Prop. C threatened to undo important safeguards San Francisco enacted to protect kids and address the youth e-cigarette epidemic. With Prop. C’s stunning defeat at the polls yesterday, San Francisco will continue to serve as a statewide model for the type of protections we need to see for every child in every city. Flavored tobacco products are a ruthless strategy by Big Tobacco to transform our kids into addicted tobacco users through flavored ‘starter kits.’
“New data release by the Food and Drug Administration shows youth use of e-cigarettes in high school skyrocketed, with a 135% increase over the past two years. Preliminary numbers show that an alarming 27.5% of high school students used e-cigarettes in the last 30 days. More than 63% used mint or menthol flavored e-cigarettes, only 2% less than fruit flavored products and significantly more than candy flavors.
“Tobacco industry players such as Juul are shamelessly trying to maximize profits as local taxpayers continue to foot the bill for tobacco-related illnesses. Flavors are driving the e-cigarette epidemic and its unprecedented increase in youth tobacco uptake. San Francisco voters have repeatedly voiced their support for measures to reduce the public health harms inflicted by flavored tobacco. First, they overwhelmingly passed Prop. E to enact flavored tobacco restrictions and then, with the outcome of Prop. C, indicated they are steadfast in their resolve to address the youth tobacco crisis.
More than 30 cities and counties have already passed similar restrictions to San Francisco’s. Further momentum is evident by the fact that 11 additional jurisdictions in California are taking up flavored tobacco restrictions this week (Alameda County, Colton, Cupertino, Los Gatos, Menlo Park, Merced, Mill Valley, San Mateo County, Santa Clara County and Woodland).
“The outcome of the Prop. C vote in San Francisco yesterday sends a clear message to local elected officials that voters are crystal clear about wanting their communities to take a stand when it comes to protecting youth from flavored tobacco—something the City of Los Angeles should keep in mind as it takes up the issue later this month. ACS CAN urges the LA City Council to move swiftly and affirmatively, as other cities such as San Francisco have done, heeding the will of the people to pass ordinances designed to restrict the sale of ALL flavored tobacco products.”
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About ACS CAN
The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) is making cancer a top priority for public officials and candidates at the federal, state and local levels. ACS CAN empowers advocates across the country to make their voices heard and influence evidence-based public policy change as well as legislative and regulatory solutions that will reduce the cancer burden. As the American Cancer Society’s nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate, ACS CAN is critical to the fight for a world without cancer. For more information, visit www.fightcancer.org.