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Vape Begone: San Francisco says goodbye to e-juice

Vape Begone: San Francisco says goodbye to e-juice

About the author
Oliver Kershaw

Oliver Kershaw

Founder of and co-founder of

From April next year vape juice will be illegal to sell within the City of San Francisco. The Flavored Tobacco Sales Restriction Ordinance bans flavors in all tobacco products without exemption.

Since the FDA’s deeming rule of last year legally confers “tobacco” status on vape, and since all vape juice is flavored, it will not be permissible to sell any vape juice when the rule comes into effect.

Of course, this won’t stop San Francisco vapers from vaping; they’ll simply buy it out of town, either online or from B&Ms. I’ve counted fifteen vape businesses in the city which will now close pointlessly. Of course, the frightening prospect is that of a knock-on effect, with similar ordinances on the books of nearby Oakland and three other metropolitan areas in the region.

Ms Cohen's press release makes no specific mention of vape, instead focussing on Menthol as the exemplar of a "tobacco flavor", clearly implying that this is a cigarette-specific regulation. All "characterising" flavors other than menthol have already been banned from cigarettes by the Federal government, most likely because of the politicial toxicity of removing a flavor that is overwhelmingly favored by African American smokers.

Indeed, the notion of "charactistic" flavors is quite interesting. The government didn't ban all flavoring;  just those flavors, or quantities of flavors, that give cigarettes a characteristic taste (remember "cherry menthols"?). Similarly to e-liquid, almost all processed tobacco has some flavorings added to it.

But was this really about "tobacco tobacco"?

San Francisco is unquestionably the hotbed of anti-vape activism, principally due to the presence of Stanton Glantz and his acolytes at the UCSF. What continues to shock is the bien-pensant leftists such as Ms Cohen who accommodate this agenda.

It’s an irony that the city most famed for innovation also plays host to those most vocal in opposition to one of the most important and exciting innovations of our times.

Indeed, two years ago a rare moment of clarity was captured following a legislative meeting on the SB140 taxation bill. Stanton Glantz and Philip Gardner were collared by vapers and quizzed on their motivations. The video was circulated privately at the time, but has since been made public. You may find some of the comments by Dr. Philip Gardner refreshingly honest and revealing.



  • Shayne Troxler

    All vaping products have been outlawed where I live for years now. But I am still vaping. There are hoops I have to jump through but vapers are gonna vape regardless of what ignorant politicians throw at us. SanFran will get juice somewhere else. Don't let the laws make you go back to fags. Work around these stupid laws they come up with. And keep on vaping!

  • loony2nz

    My B&M has been in business almost 4 years. Now it'll be gone in 9 months. Sad sad day for SF. The amount of ignorance this city has shown to smokers (and other niche markets) is astounding. I've dubbed the city Nan Francisco. They want to be your nanny.

  • Alejandro Guerrero Navarro

    Well, about 3 weeks ago it was banned in my whole country, Spain, the online sell of all related products of e-cig, mods, liquids, atomizers...even a pirex or a driptip became illegal to buy or sell within the country or from outside...
    Definitely they won here... be careful in the states of which will be their next move, for sure they are aiming to do it in the whole country, good luck there, vape brothers.

  • Mike

    Make your own. They cannot outlaw the ingredients that are in ejuice. It's easy to make and cheap. Show them how pointless their stupid laws are.

  • klutch14u

    Got all the keywords in there didn't they? "Children" "African Americans" "LGBTQRXZS", surprised they didn't list puppies and the elderly but I guess they might fall under the umbrella of "other vulnerable populations".

    Not trying to turn this into a political post, even though it's politicians doing the dirty work here but... This is why liberalism/socialism just can't work. The entire idea of it eventually eats it's own tail. Someone will ALWAYS be more liberal than the next guy and know whats best for you. Tax the rich! Hell yeah, sounds great, let them pay the bills, they can afford it. But what happens when someone decides YOU'RE the rich one? Sounds impossible but they never stop. They could ban every piece of carbon, nicotine, gun, you name it and they'd move onto the next thing they find. They ALWAYS have to have something, anything, to rail against for your own good.

  • Schorsch

    Yet ANOTHER example how these who are actually making laws cannot be further be distanced from actual PEOPLE. (Typical for these morons who are in power). This ban is absurd, it defies any common sense.

    Isn't it "fun" how first these idiots tried for years to come up with some studies and evidence that vaping is harmful (and OF COURSE, they couldn't provide such a study)....and now the ban is about something entirely different, claiming that the flavours would promote smoking and/or drug use. Entirely far-fetched fantasies, grasping for straws to get a ban through at all costs. This should tell you everything you need to know.

  • Schorsch

    "Tobacco related cancer"...GOOD EFFING RIDDANCE. Are these morons even knowing that people vape *because* tobacco causes cancer and vaping does NOT? Is this law a joke or is what I read there real?

  • Douglas Dixon

    I just make my own and have been doing so for years.. They can't ban ingredients which are cheap, easily found. The Land of Fruits and Nuts (San Fran) should really worry about the urine, feces, syringes and homeless encampments that predominate all downtown areas instead of creating ridiculous vaping laws. Vaping saved me from 42 years of tobacco use. What's And all the pot/weed you want. How stupid.

  • Marilynn Ferguson

    It's ridiculous if ANY vape store closes because of this. All they have to do is make e-juice with no flavoring at all, and then sell bottles of flavoring right next to it for 1c/bottle. Presto, law circumvented. I hope any that are even considering closing read this idea and do it. Such idiotic legislation needs to be flagrantly, but legally, dodged.

  • Rick

    If I lived in San Francisco I would STOP buying everything in the City. Go outside of San Francisco for all my shopping needs to show them how I feel about this ban. Hurt them financially to remove this stupid ban on e-cig procucts.

  • Schorsch

    Vape (respective e-liquid) doesn't contain tobacco, and it also doesn't combust anything, which is the main reason that tobacco smoking causes cancer. So how in the world, according to any human logic, can vape legally have "tobacco" status? If this proves anything then the total ignorance of whoever put "tobacco status" on vape. And someone who is ignorant about something, bare ANY knowledge, and I mean even essential knowledge, sure should not make laws about something.

  • RaymondSte

    I read stuff like this and I am reminded of the movie, "Demolition Man". This animosity towards vaping is unbelievable and frankly, in my opinion, downright evil. It comes down to assholes with power and influence wanting to control our lives, not because they're concerned about our welfare but because they can.

  • Deplorable & Delighted Barley

    One law at a time and we all become criminals in the eyes of out government. Be thankful for the scraps of liberty that are allowed you ingrates.

  • Rick D. Elliott

    Just another thing to add to the VERY long list of reasons not to live in Commiefornia.

  • Mark Christopher Reutens

    My hearts out for you SF Vapers but as true vapers we will always find a way, no way in hell am I gonna go back to disgusting cigarettes.

  • Ben Pottinger

    I keep telling the liberals I know that collecting power at the federal level is even more terrible for them then it is for me and other more conservative minded folks. This is an excellent example. Right now this insanity is confined to a city, a locality. It's confined to a place we already know is full of crazy people who seemingly want to ban anything and everything they can ban. It's the capital of "parental style" government policy (ie, we the government know what's best for you and will do what's best for you regardless if you want us to or not!).

    The great trick of the america system though is it is local, or state level (this *is* California we are discussing, they will certainly ban it at state level soon enough). As long as we force this stuff to be handled at state and local levels it keeps large well funded corporations and groups from controlling the narrative like they do at the federal level. At the state and local level me and you have actual *power* and influence. If they have to lobby and buy politicians in all 50 states it really slows down the process for them and improves it for us! See we already have lobby groups in all 50 states, *us*!

    So, tldr... fight this antivape nonsense at all levels and while your at it, fight any and all consolidation of power up to the federal level. Support states rights, you'll be supporting your rights at the same time.

    (And all this from a non-vaper, non-smoker!
    Never smoked in my life and only tried vaping as a nicotine delivery method to see how it effected my ulcerative colitis. It didn't help me but it has certainly helped others).

  • Kugel Bauer

    What a jew Glantz is. I mean, just tick off every stereotype box there is.

  • Rory Dudley

    I have been vaping since 2010. I have signed almost every pro vaping petition and made calls to my congressman in that time. Did I mention I am very much a liberal, leftist, socialist, communist or whatever you're spouting today? Y'all have been trying to make vaping political for years and I have blown it off, but I'm getting sick of it. I have all the supplies I need to literally vape the rest of my life, and then some. I have done all the pro vaping cheerleading because I believe in it, not because I'm afraid I won't be able to vape anymore. I'm set. I think you are loosing a lot of support by trying to make it out to be a war against those awful lefties. I'm about ready to just tell y'all to let #45 bring back vaping while he is bring back coal and 8-track tapes myself.

  • Ringo de Kroon

    call it freedom, in USA lol freaky tobacco communism

  • Amanda

    What about flavored alcohol? Isn't that an "evil ploy" targeted at the kiddies?

  • Corinne Larimore

    So it's okay to smoke but not vape. Where in God's name is people's common sense these days? At least you get less bad things by vaping than you do by smoking. What is the matter with people's thinking anymore.

  • Marcella Johnson

    And they still smoke. The # 1 killer. This has always been about money. They would rather see me die than to lose money.

  • teryn0069

    E juice is made from natural and components you can buy at the store. This story is an utter joke. Sorry but this is against the rights of people who want to vape. Time to take our country back, folkes.

  • teryn0069

    Funny, New Zealand just un-banned vaping,...said it better for you than smoking.

  • Karl Twiford

    WTF? This is crap! United we stand, divided we fall! We are being ripped apart bit by bit.

  • cigarbabe

    These are some of the worst laws Dems have to offer. They are taking away our right to use a 99% safer product for God knows what reason? There is no rhyme or reason for these inane laws....other than PH doesn't give a shit about those they are charged to care for...... :(

  • Ev

    "All “characterising” flavors other than menthol have already been banned from cigarettes by the Federal government, most likely because of the politicial toxicity of removing a flavor that is overwhelmingly favored by African American smokers" is this shit. "Most likely" according to who?...why single out black people, this is trashy journalism and low key/high key Racist. Btw white people smoke menthols too.

  • mr_3

    What continues to surprise me is the steady involvement of organizations labeling themselves as scientific when there is clear bias and anti-science in the methods they use to obtain "results". That plus the politics game are all these people have, especially people like Glanz. Stay informed and active and our rights will prevail.

  • nnoway

    Big question here is why put flavorings in e liquid at all? I've been vaping for 3 years. A couple months in I started thinking why do we 'breath' flavoring into our lungs, they can't taste anything. Since then I've done unflavored and it's a whole lot better.

    Want flavor? Buy jelly beans, or what ever.

  • Paul Muad'Dib

    Fascists killing people.

  • teryn0069

    Ya know, California is just about worthless

  • Chris

    My focus in this particular case is the small highly beneficial businesses that will be lost. In this case the impacts on them are much greater than consumers that will just shop online. These are people that worked their ass off to create something to get smokers off cigarettes. People that got out of bed every morning to end smoking. You can't believe the financial and emotional trauma involved in something like this. Imagine what a lease looks like in a city like SF, or what it costs to get out of it.

  • Rsant

    I used vaping to quit smoking cigarettes. This was back in the early days of soaked foam "carts". I weaned myself off vaping as soon as I could(5 months) and have remain smoke and vape free ever since.

    I also remember the pie in sky dreams of other vapors at the time thinking they would be allowed to vape anywhere and everywhere they wanted.
    If anything, vaping is going to end up MORE restricted than smoking. I would still encourage folks to try vaping to quit smoking and do whatever is necessary to obtain the products they need.

    OTOH I would also encourage folks to use vaping as a stepping stone to eliminate their nicotine addiction totally and not consider it a long term solution or as some seem to look at it...a hobby.

  • Jordan

    It's this type of draconian legislation mixed with sheer ignorance that keep is causing profitable companies, who collectively employ thousands of people, to move their operations out of state. Each week I hear about a new eliquid businesses moving operations from California to Las Vegas or Texas. is moving the entire company (employ over 20 people directly) to Las Vegas just to get around the new Tobacco Taxes. What do these politicians expect? /endrant

  • Jordan

    It's this type of draconian legislation mixed with sheer ignorance that keep is causing profitable companies, who collectively employ thousands of people, to move their operations out of state. Each week I hear about a new e-Liquid businesses moving operations from California to Las Vegas or Texas. is moving the entire company (employ over 20 people directly) to Las Vegas just to get around the new Tobacco Taxes. What do these politicians expect? /endrant

  • Игорь

    Hey guys. Do u really think this news is not fake?
    Just think - why did not they do this before?
    Why in Russia (where I live) really want, but can not do anything with a vape?
    It's very simple: in order to prohibit something, you must first CLEARLY FORMULATE IT.
    What is zero-nicotine e-liquid? Simply PG, VG and flavor additives. All this is used everywhere in other products. To prohibit VG - it is necessary to prohibit, for example, soap. It's real? It is enough for the seller to declare his e-juice as "a liquid soap" - and a voila! - he does not violate the law!
    The same for PG and flavours.
    What is e-cig? Battery, coil and cotton. Which of these parts can be banned?
    Just don't declare device as vape. Call it an "inhaler". Or just a battery teapot. On the device, a vape is identical to a teapot. Will they be able to ban teapots?

  • Wimblestick

    Great, push it underground that's just what you need!

  • Namma

    All eliquid is not flavored. I've been vaping unflavored for a year now and getting a really good deal on it as well.