Blue Shield of California has joined the American Heart Association in strongly opposing Proposition C on this year’s San Francisco ballot – the vaping measure.
This measure is sponsored by Juul Labs – the leading e-cigarette manufacturer in the U.S. – and seeks to overturn restrictions on e-cigarette sales in San Francisco.
“Prop C goes against everything we stand for at Blue Shield,” said Dr. Terry Gilliland, Blue Shield of California’s Executive Vice President of Healthcare Quality and Affordability. “We know vaping is harmful to everyone, but especially to the young people the e-cigarette industry has targeted. Supporting a “no” vote on Prop C aligns with our mission to create a health care system worthy of our family and friends. Rejecting harmful legislation like this at a local level is all part of our efforts to ensure a healthier California.”
Studies show that young people are vaping at an alarming rate and becoming hooked on these nicotine-delivery devices. San Francisco leaders were spurred to action after months of complaints about deceptive advertising by e-cigarette companies, including Juul, that seemed to target minors.
Juul’s response to San Francisco’s ban on e-cigarette sales was to sponsor Proposition C, positioning it as a measure that would regulate this new industry. Critics see Prop C as a spin tactic that would roll back measures that aim to keep these harmful products away from children.
“We encourage San Franciscans to vote down this costly and dangerous proposition. Vote No on C,” said Gary Cohen, Vice President of Government Affairs at Blue Shield of California. “San Francisco did the right thing in banning these deadly products to keep them out of the hands of children and should not take a step back now.”
Earlier this year, Juul announced it was ending its financial support for the measure. That move coincided with several recent news stories about severe vaping-related lung disease cases in the U.S. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is still looking into the phenomenon – now known as EVALI (e-cigarette, or vaping, product use associated lung injury) that has resulted in 34 deaths in the U.S. so far. CDC scientists recommend that the only way to assure that you are not at risk of developing this new lung ailment is to refrain from using ALL e-cigarette, or vaping, products.
Are you or someone you know trying to quit smoking or vaping? Blue Shield of California has a robust smoking cessation programs that will soon include tips for quitting vaping.
Dr. Terry Gilliland is executive vice president, Health Care Quality and Affordability, for Blue Shield of California and the company’s top medical leader.