JUUL's ongoing role in Livermore vaping referendum unclear

Company pulls out of similar campaign in SF; Livermore ordinance set for March ballot

The campaign to keep e-cigarettes, flavored tobacco and other vaping products in the city of Livermore may be at risk of losing its biggest supporter with the announcement that JUUL Labs has officially ended its active support of a similar initiative measure in San Francisco.

JUUL, which is based in San Francisco, spearheaded the signature-gathering effort this summer for a referendum petition to challenge the Livermore City Council's ordinance to ban flavored tobacco sales and implement other anti-vaping regulations.

The petition garnered enough signatures from Livermore voters to force council members' hand, and they opted to place the vaping referendum on a special election ballot for March 2020 rather than rescind their ordinance.

But now, JUUL's once-active role in the Livermore debate is unclear after the company pulled out of San Francisco's Proposition C campaign last week. Regardless of the company's participation going forward, the Livermore referendum has already been confirmed for the primary election ballot.

While JUUL company has not officially stated one way or the other if it will continue seeking to overturn the city's attempted prohibition on the sale of vapor products within city limits, Livermore officials are unsure if the company will continue their campaign.

"The referendum for Livermore is still several months away so they still have plenty of time to make their decision," Livermore Mayor John Marchand told the Weekly. "I have spoken with a representative from 'Flavors Hook Kids' who suggested that the move (to withdraw from supporting Proposition C) may be a strategy by JUUL to create a monopoly in San Francisco in the event that the FDA eventually approves their vaping devices."

JUUL officials announced on Sept. 30 they would no longer be supporting Proposition C -- a JUUL-sponsored initiative measure to authorize the sale and specific regulation of e-cigarettes and other vaping products in San Francisco -- but did not elaborate on why.

"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 CEO K.C. Crosthwaite said in a statement announcing the decision.

JUUL first came into conflict with Livermore's City Council when the Bay Area-based company supported a petition seeking to repeal the city's prohibition of the sale of vaping products in Livermore

Each City Council member has publicly opposed the petition, saying not only do vaping products target young people and kids but that petition takers actively mislead or outright lied to residents while collecting signatures.

"The City Council listened to many community members, parents, teachers, and students who were concerned about the growing vaping crisis. In response the council passed the ordinance based on input from the community," Marchand summarized. "JUUL then hired an army of signature gatherers who lied to voters to get thousands of signatures in order to repeal the council's action."

The council reluctantly certified the validity of the petition during its regular meeting on Sept. 9, but decided to let voters have the final say on the issue and set a special election for March 3 -- which, though a primary election date in California, it is considered a special election for Livermore because its regular municipal elections occur in November.

After the petition was validated the city's ordinance has been put on hold until the issue can be resolved by voters.

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Posted by Kiley Phillips
a resident of Livermore
on Oct 10, 2019 at 5:24 am

My name is Kiley Phillips and I was born and raised in Livermore. I’m currently living in Livermore, I work a full-time job and I’m a single father of 4 kids. Like many others that use Ecigs, I started smoking combustible cigarettes when I was 14. I became a pack and a half a day smoker for over 17 years. I tried conventional methods to quit like Chantix, nicotine gum, lozenges ect. with no success. Since I picked up vaping on June 1, 2016, I haven’t had a cigarette for over 3 years. Not only has my health benefited 10-fold, now I don’t cough up blood after smoking a pack of menthol cigarettes. Vaping has changed my life for the better.
Unfortunately, the reputation vaping has received the past few years in the United States has been misleading and flat out untrue. The science is out there and the legitimate studies done on vaping prove that it’s a healthier alternative to smoking over 4000 carcinogens every time you light up a cigarette. The Royal College of Physicians (a 13,000+ board of doctors) have stated that vaping is at least 95% safer than combustible tobacco cigarettes. This claim is backed up by thousands of studies and clear cut evidence showing vaping is a healthier alternative. By banning adult access to life saving vapor products, I’ll be forced back to smoking combustible cigarettes. I don’t want to die from lung cancer, COPD, heart disease or the hundreds and thousands of other diseases from smoking cigarettes. I want my kids to have their dad live a longer, fuller life and preventing access to vapor products could kill me and millions of others. Let me continue to have the ability to choose a healthier alternative if I so choose. Where is the parents responsibility in making sure their kids don’t vape? It’s not the governments job to parent my children. If ecigs and flavors are the true epidemic here, then we should have the evidence and proof to show it.

We can go to the liquor store, buy a gallon of hard liquor and a carton of cigarettes, stop by the cannibus club, buy a big bag of marijuana and legally smoke it but when we want to go to a vape shop to help us remain off of cigarettes, we can’t do that? Thanks for reading. Contact me at with any questions you may have.

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