San Francisco City Attorney Sues Online Retailers for Alleged Illegal Flavored Tobacco Sales

San Francisco City Attorney Sues Online Retailers for Alleged Illegal Flavored Tobacco SalesSource: City Attorney of San Francisco
Eileen Vargas
Published on December 05, 2023

In a bold move to snuff out underage vaping, San Francisco's City Attorney David Chiu is taking the fight against flavored tobacco to the digital doorstep of online retailers. Chiu's office has slapped three e-commerce businesses with a lawsuit for peddling these banned products in the city, striking at the heart of an issue with public health officials and parents on edge. The defendants, Millennial One, Inc., Gashiro Technology LLC, and DaSmokey LLC, are accused of flouting local laws designed to extinguish the spread of nicotine addiction among youth.

The case, as averred by Chiu, is straightforward: These companies, with their warehouses full of candy-flavored vapes, are letting kids light up their lives with dangerous habits. "These tobacco retailers are putting our children’s lives at risk with their flagrant disregard of the law," Chiu stated, as reported by the City Attorney's Office. The City's Health Officer, Dr. Susan Philip, echoed the sentiment, stressing the importance of deploying every tool at our disposal to keep youth out of a smoky embrace with addiction.

With the stakes as high as the potential health consequences, the city is banking on the lawsuit to clear the air of illegal tobacco sales. As city Supervisor Shamann Walton, stands with the lawsuit to send a no-smoking signal, retailers are on notice: San Francisco won't inhale their law-breaking fumes lying down.

The unfolding legal drama aims at a wider epidemic of e-cigarette use among school-age kids, with flavors like "gummy bear" and "croissant" masking a toxic product’s true bitterness under a veneer of innocence. The City Attorney's Office elaborated that 2.8 million young Americans inhale these technotoxins. California's hands-on approach to stomping out this fire has moved from street corners to internet browsers. "Each day, more than 4,300 kids in the United States try an e-cigarette for the first time, and illegal online sales make it far too easy," explained John Bowman from the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, championing San Francisco's crackdown for the nation to follow.

The lawsuit seeks to extinguish these online fires, ensuring that the next generation breathes easier by inhibiting access to addictions that cloud their future. As noted in the complaint, San Francisco's ban on flavored tobacco products and electronic cigarettes is not just a local ordinance but a statewide clarion call against the companies accused of fanning the flames of youth nicotine uptake.