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.
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.