Juul bails on Yes on C campaign

Effort to overturn the city's ban on vaping products collapses as national headlines suggest public-health hazards

In the face of extensive news media coverage about the health hazards of vaping, Juul just announced it’s dropping its support for Proposition C, the measure it sponsored to overturn the city’s vaping ban.

Basically, the Yes on C campaign just collapsed.

This has been a product aimed at teens.

In a statement released tonight, Yes on C noted:

“We understand JUUL’s leadership has decided to cease support for the campaign as part of a larger review of the company’s policies.  Based on that news, we have made the decision not to continue on with the campaign.”

That means no more Yes on C ads, no more spending on campaign consultants and media.

But with absentee ballots dropping in just days, and the measure still on the ballot, opponents were less than thrilled.

Larry Tramutola, campaign manager for the No on C effort, noted:

Juul‘s Prop C campaign has been deceptive from the very beginning — so we can be forgiven for being skeptical.

Little of what Juul has said about Prop C has been true.

The political reality is that Juul’s campaign already shattered spending records for a corporate-sponsored committee — and that was 45 days before the election. Juul has outspent the No on C coalition by a ratio of 7.5-to-1. Juul’s ads are still on the air as of right now. And Juul has portrayed Prop C as a crackdown on e-cigarettes in San Francisco — when in fact it’s the exact opposite.

Prop C can’t be withdrawn from the ballot at this point. And there would be nothing to stop another Big Tobacco giant from coming in to spend millions to pass it — and that isn’t unheard of in the Big Tobacco playbook.

This could very well be yet another of a series of lies and exaggerations from Juul and Big Tobacco. Until they return the $7 million unspent dollars that is in their political account, until they suspend their mail, their advertising, their paid phone calls and lay off their consultants, we do not believe them. If in fact they are suspending their campaign, it means they have polled and realize San Franciscans are rejecting Proposition C and they are looking for a graceful exit.

It’s clear that Yes on C has not decided to apologize or start running ads that say that the measure is a bad idea. They are reeling from the bad publicity, but at this point, I have heard, the polling is still close.

But if the No on C campaign can spend money in the next month, and Yes on C is done, it’s hard to see this measure passing.