San Francisco Voters Could Repeal Flavored Tobacco Ban

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While a city supervisor successfully instituted a ban on the sale of flavored tobacco products in San Francisco, it could be the voters who override it next summer as a repeal measure has qualified for the June 2018 ballot.

This week, the city’s Board of Elections certified that a group called Let’s Be Real San Francisco, who organized the petition, has gathered the nearly 20,000 valid signatures to qualify for the ballot. As part of the legislative process, the proposal must first go to the Board of Supervisors, which could repeal the ban on its own, though given that the board passed it unanimously, seems unlikely. That would mean voters would get their opportunity to repeal it either as part of a special election or at the next scheduled election, which is June 5, 2018.

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The ban has not yet gone into effect, as during the legislative process the effective date was amended to April 1, 2018 in order to give retailers time to sell off existing stock and prepare for the change. Assuming the Board of Supervisors does not repeal it, the city will have the ban in place for at least a little over two months.

The group sponsoring the repeal proposal is made up of several other entities, including the Arab American Grocers Association, the National Association of Tobacco Outlets (NATO) and several vaping retailers, with funding coming R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, according to documents filed with the city’s Ethics Commission. The group collected $600,000 in monetary contributions and just over $85,000 in non-monetary contributions as of a July 31 filing.

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.

San Francisco is home to nearly 871,000 residents, making it the fourth most populous city in California.

Featured image via Good Free Photos.

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Patrick Lagreid
About the author

I strive to capture the essence of a cigar and the people behind them in my work – every cigar you light up is the culmination of the work of countless people and often represents generations of struggle and stories. For me, it’s about so much more than the cigar – it’s about the story behind it, the experience of enjoying the work of artisans and the way that a good cigar can bring people together. In addition to my work with halfwheel, I’m the public address announcer for the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks during spring training, as well as for the Salt River Rafters of the Arizona Fall League, the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury and the Arizona Rattlers of the Indoor Football League. I also work in a number of roles for MLB.com, plus I'm a voice over artist. I previously covered the Phoenix and national cigar scene for Examiner.com, and was an editor for Cigar Snob magazine.

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