San Francisco Voters Choose Health over Tobacco Industry Targeting

June 6, 2018

Berkeley, CA - Yesterday, voters in San Francisco chose to end the sale of flavored tobacco products with an overwhelming 68% approval of Prop E.
 
The decisive vote upholds the law that the San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously adopted in June 2017 to end the sale of all flavored tobacco products, including candy-flavored vaping liquids and menthol cigarettes. The new law is scheduled to go into effect in the near future.
 
This significant public health victory sends a strong message to the tobacco industry that people are demanding that the health of our communities be prioritized over an industry that has made its profits by targeting and addicting generations of young people to its deadly products. 
 
The tobacco industry has a long and well-documented history of profiling and targeting youth and low-income communities of color for economic profit that comes at the expense of peoples’ lives. The tobacco industry and their allies also have a long history of using tricks and deceptive messages to try to prevent and overturn strong tobacco control laws. 
 
R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, the country’s 2nd-largest tobacco company and maker of top menthol cigarette brand Newport, spent nearly $12 million on its deceptive and unsuccessful campaign to overturn this locally adopted law, flooding the airwaves and mailboxes with doomsday ads that played on fears and misconceptions. When it comes to industry tactics, some things never change.
 
The impact of San Francisco’s Prop E victory will be felt not only in the city and Bay Area, but also around the country as more communities will feel empowered to take action. Oakland’s law regulating the sale of flavored tobacco products will go into effect on July 1, and yesterday the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors voted to adopt a law that’s as strong as the one voters upheld in San Francisco.
 
ANR is proud to be part of the SF Kids vs. Big Tobacco coalition of local, state, and national tobacco control partners, parents, doctors, health organizations, and community groups who worked together to support the Yes on Prop E campaign.
 
San Francisco’s new law, and other laws regulating the sale of flavored tobacco products around the Bay Area, are the result of many years of hard work, education, and community outreach by the African American Tobacco Control Leadership Council and the efforts of local tobacco control partners, who continue to build support for these landmark public health improvements.
 
We look forward to seeing more of these laws pass in other communities to continue the social norm change that starts with smokefree air protections and is evolving to include tobacco retailer regulations that are designed to stop the predatory marketing of the tobacco industry and prevent another generation addicted to tobacco and nicotine products. 

To learn more, see our action alerts here and here, and visit sfkidsvsbigtobacco.com and savingblacklives.org,

San Francisco Residents Urged to Vote Yes on Prop E to End Candy-Flavored Tobacco Sales

ANR encourages San Francisco voters to vote Yes on Prop E on the June 5, 2018 ballot.

Your Yes vote would prevent the rollback of a strong public health law that was unanimously adopted by the Board of Supervisors to protect the health of kids and prevent another generation addicted to tobacco.

A Yes vote on Prop E will uphold the law that the Board of Supervisors unanimously adopted in June 2017 to end the sale of flavored tobacco products, including menthol cigarettes and candy-flavored tobacco and electronic cigarette “e-juices." It was the last health measure signed by Mayor Lee.

Why is Prop E even on the ballot? RJ Reynolds, the country’s 2nd-largest tobacco company and maker of Newport menthol cigarettes, feels threatened by San Francisco’s strong public health action and has already spent more than $3.5 million dollars to overturn this local law.

Don’t be deceived. The No on Prop E campaign is funded by Big Tobacco and has a large pocketbook that they’re using to run doomsday ads on tv and online media citing fears about Prohibition, and mailing letters to San Franciscans claiming that the law should be repealed because the city has other pressing needs. This is not a surprise, and it is nothing new. When it comes to industry tactics, some things never change. 

The colorful products you see on the right look like your kids’ favorite sweets, but they’re actually nicotine-laced liquids for electronic smoking devices like vape pens.

There is no doubt that tobacco and e-cigarette companies continue their predatory targeted marketing of flavored tobacco products to youth. 

We cannot let Big Tobacco reverse this landmark public health action by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.

If you don’t live in San Francisco, please share this information with your friends, family, and colleagues in San Francisco and encourage everyone to vote Yes on Prop E.

ANR is proud to be part of the San Francisco Kids vs. Big Tobacco coalition of parents, doctors, health organizations and community groups supporting Yes on Prop E.

You might bump into one of us if you are able to take time to volunteer to distribute door hangers in San Francisco neighborhoods or do phone banking in support of this important initiative!

To learn more and to get involved, contact us or visit sfkidsvsbigtobacco.com.

Youth Tobacco Use

Over 80 percent

of kids who have used tobacco started with a flavored product.

The best way to prevent

tobacco-related illness and death is to keep youth and other vulnerable populations from starting to smoke in the first place. 

Youth smokers

are more likely to use menthol cigarettes than any other age group. 

Flavored tobacco products

are disproportionately marketed to youth and young adults, African Americans, the LGBTQ community, and low-income communities. 

Tobacco companies were required

by the FDA to remove all flavors from tobacco cigarettes except for menthol, which makes smoking less harsh and makes it easier for the user to become hooked.

Communities are adopting

tobacco retailer license requirements that restrict or prohibit the sale of flavored tobacco products, including menthol cigarettes and candy-flavored electronic smoking devices and "e-juices." 

Communities are taking action

to limit the negative public health consequences of tobacco use and to reduce the impact of targeted tobacco industry marketing, especially to youth and low-income communities of color.

Target Marketing of Menthol Cigarettes

Historically, the tobacco industry’s attempts to maintain a positive image among African Americans have included such efforts as supporting cultural events and making contributions to minority higher education institutions, elected officials, civic and community organizations, and scholarship programs. 

However, the tobacco industry has had a long and well-documented history of profiling and targeting African-Americans with predatory advertising, menthol products, discounted pricing, and other tactics to increase their profit at the expense of individual lives.

Learn about the tobacco industry’s targeting of menthol cigarettes to African Americans by checking out the compelling graphic developed by the African American Tobacco Control Leadership Council.