Two California cities have become the only jurisdictions in the U.S. to eliminate the sale of all vaping and traditional tobacco products. On January 1st, Beverly Hills and Manhattan Beach, both in the Los Angeles area, began to enforce the strictest vaping rules in the country. The law also included a phase-out period for retailers to empty their shelves of e-cigarettes. Other cities are considering enacting similar bans.
The Beverly Hills City Council, the first to pass its ordinance, proposed the rule nearly three years ago during a meeting discussing the potential ban of flavored vaping products. Ultimately, the council settled on a total ban of all vaping and traditional tobacco products.
“Somebody’s got to be first, so let it be us,” said then-Mayor, current Councilmember John Mirisch, who first proposed the concept in 2017, according to a press release. Mirisch recently joined the Board of Trustees of the advocacy group Action on Smoking & Health (ASH), which coordinates Project Sunset, an effort to phase out tobacco sales worldwide.
“Cigarettes have become so normalized that to some this might seem like a drastic step,” said Chris Bostic, ASH Policy Director. “But if another product emerged tomorrow that was highly addictive and killed when used as intended, of course we’d ban its sale. We’d probably charge the people who marketed it with manslaughter too.”
Total vaping and tobacco bans have been gaining traction more recently, within the public health community and more broadly. The Danish Institute for Human Rights, after concluding a human rights assessment of Philip Morris International in 2017, concluded that “there can be no doubt that the production and marketing of tobacco is irreconcilable with the human right to health. For the tobacco industry, the UNGPs [United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights] therefore require the cessation of the production and marketing of tobacco.”
Vapor industry advocates say that banning e-cigarettes only pushes former combustible cigarettes smokers back to combustibles. They also say that vaping bans increase the size of the black market. Black market THC vaping products were the cause of a lung disease that sickened and killed numerous youth in 2019.