San Francisco bans e-cigarettes because of underage use

Last updated at 13:20
a person using an e-cigarette.Getty Images

San Francisco has become the first city in the USA to ban the sale of electronic cigarettes - they hope it will stop children using nicotine products.

Figures show that middle and high school students (ages 11-18) who have admitted to using products with nicotine has gone up by 36%, one of the things causing this problem is the use of e-cigarettes and vaping products.

Under federal law in the United States, you have to be at least 18 to buy these products, although in San Francisco's state, California, the age limit is 21.

Anti-vaping protestors say firms deliberately target young people by offering different flavoured products.

The Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.Getty Images
The US city of San Francisco is about to ban e-cigarettes

San Francisco's mayor, London Breed, now has 10 days to make these new rules into laws, but she says that she will. The law would begin in seven months, although some firms selling these products could challenge the decision.

However, e-cigarette manufacturers, Juul Labs, whose headquarters are in San Francisco, say they have "taken steps to deter children" from using their products. They have got an online age checking process, which requires e-cig users to enter their date of birth, name and permanent address into an age verification form, which is then checked.

Juul have also shut down their Facebook and Instagram accounts to put young people off.

The company also says that the move means adults won't have the option of healthier smoking alternatives.

Spokesperson Ted Kwong said "the prohibition of vapour products for all adults in San Francisco will not effectively address underage use and will leave cigarettes on shelves as the only choice for adult smokers."

The e-cig ban follows a ban on the sale of flavoured tobacco last year, and a tax on sugar sweetened drinks in 2016.

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