On Tuesday, voters in San Francisco, Calif. overwhelmingly supported a proposition that will ban the sale of flavored tobacco products in the city, with 68.4% of voters in favor as the day came to a close.
The ban has been in the works since last summer, when the San Francisco Board of Supervisors first approved it. Then, a group called Let’s Be Real San Francisco organized a petition seeking its repeal, gathering more than the nearly 20,000 valid signatures to qualify for the ballot and triggering the repeal process. That began with the Board of Supervisors first getting the option to repeal it on their own, which did not happen. That sent the matter to voters in Tuesday’s election.
The ban defines a flavored tobacco product as one where the manufacturer or any of the manufacturer’s agents or employees make a statement or claim to consumers or the public that the product has a characterizing flavor via the product’s packaging. The ban would apply to both cigarettes and other tobacco products. Violators of the sales ban could face the suspension of their tobacco retailers’ license starting at 90 days for a first violation and a year for a third violation.
The ban was designed to go into effect on April 1, 2018, a modified date agreed to as part of the Board of Supervisor’s discussions that was agreed to in order to give retailers time to sell off existing stock and prepare for the change. An updated effective date has not announced.