A San Francisco ballot measure aiming to overturn a ban on e-cigarettes has the "world watching," political experts say, as the vaping industry has come under fire recently for reports of illnesses and deaths connected to its products.
San Francisco’s Proposition C would, among other things, allow the sale of vaping products not approved by the government and require more licensing to sell them.
Vaping giant Juul, which is owned by cigarette maker Altria, sponsored the measure at the outset but recently cut its funding in support of Prop. C.
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The American Medical Association has come out against the measure. There have been numerous reports of people sickened or even killed by vaping products.
"For three years, e-cigarette companies have had the ability to go to the Food and Drug Administration to get their authorization, and they have all refused," said Matt Dorsey of the No on C campaign. "This is no joke; this is an epidemic, and that is what the U.S. Surgeon General said.
Supporters say Prop. C would restrict marketing of vaping products to teenagers and require more education for teens.
Wilson Chu, with the Chinese American Democratic Club of San Francisco, supports Prop. C.
"In the end, you’ve got the lesser of two evils," Chu said. "I think it’s unwise to kill off an innovative product before a formal investigation is completed."
Marcus Eagan says he tried using Juul to quit cigarettes. He’s back with tobacco because his Juul made him sick, he said.
"Three months in, and I had a nodule on my throat, and you can still hear some of the remnants," Eagan said. "It’s a little scratchy."
Prop. C opponents say vaping is being restricted or banned in an increasing number of states and countries, all of which will be watching for the results in San Francisco come Nov. 5.