Juul Labs is once again at odds with San Francisco legislators, who continue to try and force Juul out of their city.
Tobacco is still the leading cause of preventable death and disease around the world. Given how much of a public health crisis it is, it’s only fair we do everything we can to protect people from themselves. Unfortunately, for almost as long as it’s been a well-known thing, vaping has been vilified for being a gateway to smoking. Years of peer-reviewed research has disputed these claims, but the sentiment that e-cigarettes are merely another form of tobacco remains strong. One of the most successful vaping brands in the world, Juul Labs, is currently in a heated battle with legislators in San Francisco, where the business is headquartered. City officials are working on legislation which would make it all-but illegal for Juul Labs to continue business there, let alone expand.
The vaping community has blasted the news, but it comes as little surprise. Right around this time last year, citizens voted overwhelmingly for the strictest e-liquid flavor ban in the country. Regardless, advocates continue to point to peer-reviewed evidence that vaping is an extremely valuable harm reduction and smoking cessation tool. However, while San Francisco legislators have made their motives clear, Juul Labs says they’re ready to dig in.
Juul Labs and the city of San Francisco have had a tumultuous relationship, to say the least. Instead of supporting one of the fastest growing brands of all time, San Francisco has made it clear they don’t love Juul being there. As mentioned, last year saw the passage of the nation’s strictest e-liquid flavor ban. After securing that regulation, the city leaders turned their sights to getting Juul Labs out of their city entirely. Legislation first proposed right around the same time as the flavor ban would prohibit any businesses from making or distributing vaping products throughout the city. While the law wouldn’t be able to grandfather in companies like Juul Labs, it would essentially make any expansion impossible. Despite not mentioning them by name, experts agree these bills were designed to run Juul Labs out of town.
While they have remained relatively quiet until recently, their CEO, Kevin Burns, made it clear to the San Francisco Chronicle they have no plans to move their operations. Many had speculated about feelings internally about the mounting pressure from city officials. However, that uncertainty was lifted when Mr. Burns said, “Yes, we’re staying…San Francisco is our home. We want to be in San Francisco. We have 1,200 employees in San Francisco, a huge talent base in San Francisco. We want to be a resident, and I’m hopeful we’ll find a way to be a resident.” So it seems Juul Labs is more than ready to keep the fight going.
Why Choose Vaping?
City leaders continue their push against vaping despite a robust pile of independent evidence supporting their benefits. We know the teenage vaping “epidemic” is being overblown, thanks to a massive report of over 60,000 from Action on Smoking and Health which concluded less than 0.5% of non-smoking teens are ever vaping more than once or twice. This makes sense when you consider the report from the University of Louisville which looked into the smoking cessation value of vaping. They tested all the most common tools and methods and concluded it was none other than vaping, that is most likely to help you quit for good.
The case only becomes stronger once you look into the harm reduction value provided by vaporizers. All the way back in 2015 we got a report from Public Health England that concluded vaping is at least 95% safer than smoking. While that was a significant discovery at the time, these days we have a lot more research which also suggests vaping is dramatically safer. Just a few months back researchers from Roswell Park Institute found the toxicants in vapor are 93% lower than in cigarette smoke. However, nothing compares with the report from the Journal of Aerosol Sciences, which estimated the excess lifetime cancer risk of a vaper is around 57,000 times lower than a demographically similar smoker.
It’s a real shame leaders in San Francisco are so caught up with vaping while more smoking regulations aren’t even mentioned. After all, we know smoking is much more deadly than vaping, so why focus on something proven to help people quit? For vapers in San Francisco, this could be the straw that finally breaks the camel’s back. It would be a real shame for vapers to revert to smoking, simply because they no longer had access to the safer alternative. We must all do our part to tell our government that vaping is an invaluable tool and needs to be treated as such.
Are you surprised San Francisco seems so hell-bent on restricting vaping? How could we best teach others about the value of vaping? Do you think laws like this are making people revert to smoking? Let us know what you think in the comments, and don’t forget to check back here or join our Facebook and Twitter communities for more news and articles.