KUALA LUMPUR, June 26 — San Francisco has become the first US city to ban sales of e-cigarettes because of increasing use of the devices by teenagers.
The ban on sale and distribution begins next year and is subject to whether or not the product is approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
City officials voted to ban stores selling vaporisers and have made it illegal for online retailers to deliver to addresses in the city.
Concerns over the massive increase in teenage use have been the main driving force behind the ban. 2018 US data showed a 78 percent increase in e-cigarette use among high school students.
San Francisco-based company Juul is the dominant e-cigarette maker in the US.
Other US cities and states have limited the sale of vaping devices, including raising the age for buying nicotine products to 21 years.
San Francisco’s mayor, London Breed, has 10 days to sign off the legislation, but has indicated that she would. The law will begin to be enforced seven months from the date the legislation is signed by San Francisco’s mayor.
It is almost certain that affected firms, such as Juul, will legally challenge the ban.
The Juul’s device, which is slightly longer than a USB flash drive, has 70 percent of the US vaping market.
A Juul spokesman said to the BBC: “This full prohibition will drive former adult smokers who successfully switched to vapor products back to deadly cigarettes, deny the opportunity to switch for current adult smokers, and create a thriving black market instead of addressing the actual causes of underage access and use.
“We have already taken the most aggressive actions in the industry to keep our products out of the hands of those underage and are taking steps to do more.”
Anti-vaping activists say that young people are being deliberately targeted and are being encouraged to switch from traditional cigarettes to e-cigarettes.