“San Francisco’s Department of Elections and its employees have been doing an exemplary job,” Herrera said. “I’m equally confident that our co-defendants are also meeting or exceeding their legal duties.”

City Attorney Dennis Herrera’s statement on Juul’s attempt to rewrite election language

“Kevin Burns and other Juul executives have gotten rich peddling poison and addicting a generation of kids to nicotine.”

“San Francisco’s Department of Elections and its employees have been doing an exemplary job,” Herrera said. “I’m equally confident that our co-defendants are also meeting or exceeding their legal duties.”
City Attorney Dennis Herrera

SAN FRANCISCO (Sept. 6, 2019) — City Attorney Dennis Herrera today issued the following statement on Juul’s attempt to rewrite the language that would go before San Francisco voters in November:

“We’re pleased the court rejected Juul’s attempt to rewrite the ballot materials in a way that would have misled voters. In rejecting Juul’s argument about the flavor ban, the court affirmed that our office’s legal analysis was accurate and that Juul’s ballot measure may repeal the City law that prohibits the sale of flavored e-cigarettes.  The court also noted that Juul could have included language in its ballot measure specifically preserving the flavor ban, but Juul chose not to do that. As the court noted, this ballot measure’s potential to repeal the flavor ban is entirely of Juul’s own making.  Today’s decision also validated the hard work of the members of the Ballot Simplification Committee, who volunteer their time to ensure that ballot materials are accurate and clear so that voters can make an informed choice.”

“We’re also pleased that the court preserved language that tells voters that e-cigarettes are subject to FDA authorization.  Federal law is very clear: before a company may sell a new tobacco product, the FDA must review that product to make sure it is safe for public health.  That the FDA has failed do its job is another matter.  The judge acknowledged that the FDA appears to have acted in contravention of the federal statute. San Francisco’s law merely restricts the sale of e-cigarettes that have not received FDA authorization.  This law is not a ban; it is smart regulation. As the court noted, San Francisco permits the sale of e-cigarettes that have received FDA authorization.” 

“There is only one entity that has been biased and deceptive in this process, and that is Juul. Kevin Burns and other Juul executives have gotten rich peddling poison and addicting a generation of kids to nicotine. These are kids who would have never touched a cigarette, but they thought Juul was cool. Little did they know that one mango or berry Juul pod has the same amount of nicotine as an entire pack of cigarettes, or that research suggests that nicotine may be as addictive as heroin, cocaine or alcohol. I wonder if it ever crosses Kevin Burns’ mind that his child could be the one hooked up to machines in a hospital room struggling to breathe because of vaping. Juul has done everything it can to avoid regulation while getting its product into the backpacks of millions of kids across this country. San Francisco already passed real regulation: get FDA approval and you can sell your product here. If you don’t, you can’t. It’s that simple.”

“Juul is not just taking a page from Big Tobacco’s playbook. Juul is Big Tobacco. The company that makes Marlboros owns more than a third of Juul. Youth have overwhelmingly rejected cigarettes, whose use is at record lows. Juul is Big Tobacco’s play to keep people addicted to nicotine. Kevin Burns is trying to rewrite the rules to benefit his bottom line, but San Franciscans are too smart to buy what Juul is selling.”

More information about the City Attorney’s Office is available on our website at: sfcityattorney.org.

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