Juul e-cigarette and pods
Juul e-cigarette and pods

San Francisco has become the first U.S. city to ban the sale of electronic cigarettes until their effects on human health are clearer.

The city's legislature on Tuesday unanimously approved the ban on sales of the vaporizers, which deliver nicotine in an inhalable form, until the products are approved by federal health authorities. 

Backers of the ban say it is necessary because of the "significant public health consequences" of a "dramatic surge" in vaping among youths.

But critics claim the ordinance will only make things more difficult for adults seeking an alternative to traditional tobacco products. 

The city in Northern California is home to Juul Labs, the most popular e-cigarette producer in the U.S.  The company said the ban would only drive smokers back to cigarettes and "create a thriving black market".

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has said that the use of e-cigarettes among American teens has hit "epidemic proportions." 

E-cigarettes have been promoted as a powerful tool to help adults break their habit of conventional tobacco products. But research has found little evidence that this is the case. 

According to the data cited by the FDA, in 2017 more than 2 million middle school and high school students used the devices.