A Look At All Sides Of San Francisco's Proposed Flavored Tobacco Ban

San Francisco has been cracking down on tobacco lately, and the proposed flavored tobacco ban is just the next iteration.

State Proposition 56 recently added an additional $2 tax to a pack of cigarettes, and now the city is looking to outright ban flavored tobacco products completely. This includes all of those fruit, mint, and candy-flavored cigarettes, cigarillos, and more.

Those who are proposing the ban say that these fruity products are an obvious attempt to expend their market - to children. Of course, children can't legally consume tobacco products, but it's known that underage kids smoke all the time, and creating flavored products is only likely to spread that to even younger kids in larger numbers. Then they get hooked. And getting hooked causes the money to flow.

They point to the obvious increase of advertising in low-income neighborhoods and other vulnerable areas of the city. This, they claim serves as evidence that they are trying to target vulnerable populations to get more people hooked on cigarettes.

Some small businesses are speaking out against this possible ban, citing monetary reasons. While cigarettes may not be a majority profit maker for shops like gas stations and convenience stores, they are often an anchor product. People come in to get cigarettes and often end up buying more while they're there. It's a clear gateway product.

They also claim that the increased taxes have already caused sluggish sales, and those sales are hurting their bottom line more than in just cigarette sales, because of that anchor effect of the cigarettes. Now, customers have no reason to go in that door in the first place.

Some have suggested that more targeted bans might be more appropriate. An example suggestion has been perhaps banning tobacco products only near schools and places where kids hang out, like parks and such. Others have argued the bans are just stupid and won't stop people who want them from buying them outside the city or online.


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