Cities in California and New York are putting new restrictions on vape products. San Francisco, California is banning the sale of flavored tobacco products, including vaping liquids. The whole of Westchester County in New York raised the age to buy tobacco and vaping products to 21 years of age.
In San Francisco, 68% of voters had voted in favor of Proposition E and 31% opposed.
Proponents of vaporizer devices say the measure will make it more difficult for adult smokers to quit smoking. Flavored tobacco products, they argue, are helpful to smokers trying to wean themselves off of nicotine.
Last year, city supervisors in San Franciso had approved an ordinance that banned the sale of flavored tobacco products, including liquids for vape pens, flavored cigars and menthol cigarettes. The city would have been the first to approve a sweeping ban on flavored tobacco products. Enough signatures were gathered to put the ordinance to a referendum.
Public health advocates have voiced their support of bans on flavored tobacco products, which they say entice teens and create a new generation of addicted smokers. The American Lung Association, American Heart Association and American Cancer Society have come out in support of Proposition E, claiming that it will protect kids.
Those who were opposed to the measure said it was overreach to ban flavored tobacco products and infringed on the rights of adults. They also argue that the measure will harm small businesses that sell flavored tobacco and vaporizer liquids.
In New York, Westchester County lawmakers raised the age to purchase vaping and tobacco products from 18 to 21. The Board of Legislators voted 16-1 to increase the age.
Lawmakers say raising the age will lower the number of people who become addicted to cigarettes.
County Executive George Latimer is expected to sign the change into law, which will go into effect 60 days after being enacted.
Westchester County joins Rockland County in raising the age to purchase tobacco and vaping products. Earlier last month, the town of New Castle, which is located in Westchester County, passed its own bill to raise the age to 21.
The statewide age is 18, but local municipalities can raise the age if they desire. New York City itself has raised the age as well as other counties in the state. In Nassau County, the minimum age is 19.
New York state has debated raising the age statewide to 21.