Juul Ends Support For Effort To Overturn San Francisco E-Cigarette Sales Ban

The vaping company had donated nearly $19 million to the Proposition C campaign.

Juul Labs has ceased its support for a pro-vaping ballot measure in San Francisco that the popular e-cigarette company has spent millions of dollars promoting.

Proposition C, which is set to appear on San Francisco’s Nov. 5 ballot, would overturn an existing ordinance banning the sale of e-cigarettes in the city. Juul has donated nearly $19 million to the Yes on C campaign, which has virtually no other financial backers.

The company announced its decision to end “active support” for the ballot measure in a statement on Monday night, just days after CEO Kevin Burns stepped down amid growing criticism of vaping.

Juul appointed K.C. Crosthwaite as Burns’ replacement. Crosthwaite said last week that the company would work to “earn the trust of the societies in which we operate.”

“I am committed to seeing that JUUL engages productively with all stakeholders, including regulators, policymakers and our customers. This decision does not change the fact that as a San Francisco-founded and headquartered company we remain committed to the city,” Crosthwaite said in Monday’s statement. “San Francisco is not only the home of our company’s founding but is also the home of many of our talented employees.”

Of the $18.6 million Juul has given to Yes on C, also known as the Coalition for Responsible Vaping Regulation, the campaign has already spent $10.5 million and has unpaid bills amounting to $1.3 million, The San Francisco Chronicle reported. The remaining funds are to be returned to Juul.

“Based on that news, we have made the decision not to continue on with the campaign,” Yes on C said in a statement, according to The Associated Press.

Burns’ departure and Crosthwaite’s appointment came less than a week after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced that its criminal investigations unit was looking into the rise of vaping-related lung illness across the country. As of last week, there had been at least 805 cases of sickness and 12 deaths linked to e-cigarettes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The FDA was also investigating Juul’s marketing practices, including its Proposition C ads. The company said last week that it would suspend all broadcast, print and digital advertising of its products in the U.S.