R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, the Winston-Salem, N.C.-based tobacco corporation, reportedly invested $12 million on a media campaign fighting Proposition E, better known as the San Francisco flavor ban.
In an effort to combat the proposed San Francisco flavor ban, the “No on Proposition E” campaign utilized R.J. Reynolds’ infusion to purchase television and radio advertisements and fill local mailboxes with literature, prompting voters to reject Prop E during the June 5 vote, according to The Associated Press.
Prop E is designed to ban the sale of flavored tobacco, menthol cigarettes, and e-cigarettes in the Bay Area. Critics contend passage of Prop E could ignite a national trend.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg stands among the high-level personalities who favor Prop E. Bloomberg, a billionaire, gave $2 million to support the cause, AP reported.
San Francisco’s supervisors unanimously approved legislation last year, becoming the first community in the U.S. to outlaw sales of flavored vaping liquids and restrict usage in bars, restaurants, and workplaces. The ordinance was projected to go live in April, but was tabled when R.J. Reynolds spearheaded a signature campaign to get it on the upcoming ballot, according to AP.
Threatened Bay Area business owners, who could lose their tobacco sales permits if they violate the proposed ordinance, voiced opposition to the ban. The owners contend individuals will continue to purchase vaping devices in a newly created underground market, AP reported.
Founded in 1875, R.J. Reynolds, the second-largest tobacco producer in the U.S., is a subsidiary of British American Tobacco (NYSE:BTI), which lists a market cap of $107.5 billion.
R.J. Reynolds did not immediately reply to an interview request from AP.
Want to learn more about Prop E? Read this article — then read about the FDA’s newly proposed flavor ban.