On September 30, the newly appointed CEO of Juul Labs, K.C. Crosthwaite, announced that the company was pulling its financial backing of the support campaign for San Francisco Proposition C, a citizen initiative to authorize and regulate the sale of electronic cigarettes. In the announcement, Crosthwaite stated, “We must strive to work with regulators, policymakers and other stakeholders, and earn the trust of the societies in which we operate. That includes inviting an open dialogue, listening to others and being responsive to their concerns.”
Juul Labs was the primary sponsor for Coalition for Reasonable Vaping Regulation, which led the Yes on C: Stop Youth Vaping campaign. Juul contributed over $11.5 million in loans to the campaign.
Following Juul’s announcement, Yes on C announced suspending its campaign and released the following statement: “We understand JUUL’s leadership has decided to cease support for the campaign as part of a larger review of the company’s policies. Based on that news, we have made the decision not to continue on with the campaign. … We will be winding down all campaign activities over the course of this week.”
No on C, San Francisco Kids vs. Big Tobacco is leading the opposition campaign. The director of No on C, Larry Tramutola, responded to the news in a statement saying that they will not believe the news until Yes on C has returned unused funds to Juul and halted all campaign activities.
Proposition C proposes to overturn the 2019 city ban 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. It also proposes to enact additional age verification requirements; enact rules governing the advertisement of vapor products with regard to minors; and require additional licensing and permitting for businesses selling vapor products.
The initiative will still appear on the November 5 ballot in San Francisco. Local citizen initiatives cannot be withdrawn later than 88 days prior to the election.