San Francisco voters will head to the polls on November 5 to decide on six ballot measures, including Proposition C. Prop. C proposes to authorize and regulate the sale of electronic cigarettes. Jennifer Hochstatter, the vice president of supply and demand planning for Juul Labs, filed the successful initiative petition. Juul Labs, headquartered in San Francisco, accounts for over 70 percent of the e-cigarette market in the United States.
Juul, which contributed an initial $4 million in loans to the Yes on C: Stop Youth Vaping campaign, gave an additional $7 million in cash contributions on Monday, September 23. The Coalition for Reasonable Vaping Regulation, which is leading the Yes on C: Stop Youth Vaping campaign, reported a total of $11.5 million in cash and in-kind contributions and $4.2 million in cash expenditures through September 25.
No on C, San Francisco Kids vs. Big Tobacco is leading the opposition campaign. It reported a total of $2.2 million in contributions through September 25. Michael Bloomberg is the top donor with a total of cash and in-kind contributions of $1.6 million. Bloomberg voiced his opposition to e-cigarettes in a New York Times op-ed, where he argued, “Banning flavored e-cigarettes is the most important thing we can do to reduce use among young people.” On September 10, Bloomberg also announced that his charity, Bloomberg Philanthropies, was launching a $160 million program to combat youth vaping.
Other top donors to the opposition campaign include Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc.; the American Heart Association; and Arthur Rock.
Proposition C would overturn a 2019 law passed by the board of supervisors that prohibits the sale of e-cigarettes that have not been reviewed by the Food and Drug Administration; no e-cigarette manufacturers have completed the FDA review to date. Proposition C would also enact additional age-verification requirements for vaping product sales, enact rules governing the advertisement of vapor products with regard to minors, and require additional licensing and permitting for businesses selling vapor products.
Proposition C is a citizen-initiated measure that required at least 9,485 valid signatures to be certified for the ballot. In San Francisco, an initiative petition proposing a change to city ordinances requires signatures equal to at least 5 percent of the votes cast in the last mayoral election to qualify for the ballot.
In November 2018, San Francisco voters also decided five propositions. A combined total of about $13.3 million was contributed in support of and opposition to all five propositions last year. The most expensive measure in November 2018 (also named Proposition C) spurred about $10.9 million in campaign contributions.