San Francisco – Supervisor Malia Cohen today introduced a landmark tobacco control ordinance which will restrict the sale of all flavored tobacco products in the city of San Francisco. This evidence-based legislation prohibits retailers from selling any tobacco product, whether cigarette, smokeless, e-product or otherwise that has an added characterizing flavor.
Supervisor Cohen’s legislation is unique in that it is a full restriction on the sale of flavored tobacco, including menthol products. Flavored tobacco is disproportionately marketed to children and young adults, African Americans and LGBTQ people.
“For too long the tobacco industry has gotten a pass while they selectively target vulnerable populations with flavored tobacco products,” said Supervisor Cohen. “Flavored tobacco hooks new smokers and makes them lifelong users. It can be more harmful and more difficult to quit than unflavored tobacco.
“Tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable death in the United States, specifically cancers. This legislation will have a tremendous impact on the disturbing disparities for tobacco-related illnesses, and will reduce the number of new tobacco users that pick up the habit annually.”
Beyond the human suffering associated with tobacco use, the financial cost in San Francisco amounts to $380 million per year in direct health care expenses and lost productivity.
“We know from research and studies that tobacco related diseases continue to be the number one cause of preventable deaths, especially among low income and minority communities,” says Mayor Ed Lee. “We must do everything in our power to educate San Franciscans about the negative effects of tobacco and to protect the health, safety and welfare of our citizens. I applaud Supervisor Cohen for leading this effort.”
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