San Francisco is inching closer to becoming the first city in America to ban the sales of electronic cigarettes.
The city’s Board of Supervisors on Tuesday will consider prohibiting the sale and distribution of products from companies like Juul until the U.S. Food and Drug Administration reviews their effects on public health, as well as ban manufacturing e-cigarettes on city property.
“Young people have almost indiscriminate access to a product that shouldn’t even be on the market,” city attorney Dennis Herrera told the Associated Press, adding that “it’s, unfortunately, falling to states and localities to step into the breach” and regulate e-cigarettes.
If supervisors approve the measures, it will require a subsequent vote before becoming law.
San Francisco’s proposed ordinance is the latest in many attempts nationwide to cut back on youth e-cigarette use.
Last year the city voted to ban the sales of fruit and candy-flavored tobacco products, and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed a law raising the legal age to buy e-cigarettes and tobacco in his state to 21 on June 7, joining 13 other states including California. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., also recently introduced a bill to raise the federal minimum age to buy tobacco.
From 2017 to 2018, e-cigarette use increased 78 percent among high school students and 48 percent among middle schoolers, according to the FDA.
Juul, which says its products are a way for adults to switch from cigarettes to a less harmful alternative and has taken some steps to prevent underage use of its products, opposes the ban.
“But the prohibition of vapor products for all adults in San Francisco will not effectively address underage use,” Juul spokesman Ted Kwong told the AP, “and will leave cigarettes on shelves as the only choice for adult smokers, even though they kill 40,000 Californians a year.”
Groups representing small businesses also oppose the measures, which they say could force stores to close.
But Stanton Glantz, a professor of medicine at the University of California San Francisco Center for Tobacco Control and Research and a supporter of the measures, said e-cigarettes are associated with heart attacks, strokes and lung disease.
The presence of e-cigarettes has “completely reversed the progress we’ve made in youth smoking in the last few years,” he said.
Fox News’ Tyler Olson and the Associated Press contributed to this report.