Trump Backing Off Banning Vaping Flavors Popular with Teens

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When President Donald Trump boarded Air Force One to fly to a Kentucky marketing campaign rally two weeks in the past, a plan was in place for him to provide remaining approval to a plan to ban most flavored e-cigarettes.

By the time Trump landed again at Joint Base Andrews exterior Washington a couple of hours later, the plan was off. And its future is unclear.

For practically two months, momentum had been constructing contained in the White House to attempt to halt a youth vaping epidemic that consultants feared was hurting as many as 5 million youngsters.

Both first girl Melania Trump and Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter and senior adviser, pushed for the ban, which was additionally being championed internally by White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, who has taken the lead on some public well being points.

But as Trump sat surrounded by political advisers on the flights to and from Lexington, he grew reluctant to signal the ban, satisfied it may alienate voters who could be financially or in any other case affected by a vaping ban, in accordance with two White House and marketing campaign officers not approved to talk publicly about non-public conversations.

A information convention scheduled by Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar to announce the ban was canceled, whereas extra conferences with trade leaders and lobbyists had been proposed, in accordance with the officers.

Trump tweeted final week that he’ll be assembly with vaping trade representatives, medical professionals and others “to come up with an acceptable solution to the Vaping and E-cigarette dilemma.” The White House has but to announce a date for a gathering.

FILE- Flavored vaping options are proven in a window show at a vape and smoke store in New York, Sept. 16, 2019.

This month, Trump marketing campaign supervisor Brad Parscale and others confirmed the president polling information indicating that e-cigarette customers may abandon him if he adopted by means of with the ban, the officers mentioned.

Campaign aides additionally highlighted an aggressive social media marketing campaign — (hash)IVapeIVote —  during which advocates claimed a ban would pressure the closure of vaping outlets, eliminating jobs and sending customers of digital cigarettes again to conventional smokes. Parscale additionally identified the danger {that a} ban may have on e-cigarette customers in key battleground states that Trump narrowly received in 2016.

Others within the West Wing, together with Conway, have argued {that a} ban may very well be a successful difficulty with suburban voters, together with moms, who’ve fled the president in massive numbers. Few would predict the place Trump, who is understood to abruptly change his thoughts, would find yourself since he lately has been consumed with different issues, notably televised impeachments hearings.

The vaping trade’s largest commerce group mentioned Monday the administration was heading “in the suitable course for grownup people who smoke and their households.”

“Bans do not work, they by no means have,” Tony Abboud, government director of the Vapor Technology Association, mentioned in an announcement.

Gregory Conley, president of the American Vaping Association, an advocacy group, added that the federal government ought to put in place “wise and focused rules” earlier than it resorts to prohibition, which opponents of a ban mentioned may result in the creation of an underground marketplace for e-cigarettes.

But Matt Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, mentioned Trump could be responsible of “horrible public coverage” and “unhealthy politics” if he backs down.

“This is without doubt one of the only a few points on which public views are unified,” Myers mentioned in a phone interview. “There are a small number of vape shop owners who are loud and don’t care. But there are millions more moms and dads who are deeply concerned.”

Robin Koval, president and CEO of the Truth Initiative, a nonprofit, anti-tobacco group, referred to as on Trump to implement the unique plan.

“The health of America’s youth must come first and is not for sale or political gain,” Koval mentioned in an announcement. The first girl opened the White House to a bunch of younger individuals from the Truth Initiative in October to inform her about their experiences with vaping.

FILE - A high school student uses a vaping device near a school campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts. FILE – A highschool scholar makes use of a vaping system close to a faculty campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Trump’s preliminary pledge Sept. 11 to ban nearly all flavored e-cigarettes surprised vaping proponents and was instantly embraced by anti-tobacco advocates. In an Oval Office look with the primary girl and Azar, Trump mentioned the federal government would act inside weeks to guard youngsters from fruit, sweet, dessert and different candy vaping flavors, together with mint and menthol.

The announcement adopted a tweet two days earlier by Mrs. Trump expressing concern “about the growing epidemic of e-cigarette use in our children.”

“We need to do all we can to protect the public from tobacco-related disease and death, and prevent e-cigarettes from becoming an on-ramp to nicotine addiction for a generation of youth,” she mentioned.

But inside days, Trump tweeted that e-cigarettes is likely to be a less-harmful various for people who smoke, a degree lengthy made by the trade. Meanwhile, vaping lobbyists, conservative teams and Republican lawmakers from key states warned Trump {that a} crackdown may value him with voters.

The Vapor Technology Association launched adverts and an internet marketing campaign promising to punish Trump and different politicians who assist vaping restrictions. Conservative teams which have lengthy promoted vaping as a substitute for smoking, together with Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform, joined the criticism.

That group and others helped set up protests towards banning flavors, together with one exterior the White House. Trump supporters additionally confirmed up at a few of his marketing campaign rallies holding indicators expressing their opposition to a ban.

The trade warned some 15,000 to 19,000 vaping outlets throughout the nation — and jobs — may very well be worn out if flavors had been eradicated.

The administration was extensively anticipated earlier this month to announce a scaled-back taste ban that might exempt menthol, citing analysis that the flavour was not extensively utilized by youngsters. But no determination got here.

Trump as a substitute advised reporters on Nov. 8 — 4 days after his political advisers buttonholed him on the Kentucky journey — he was contemplating new approaches to curbing teen use, together with elevating the minimal age for buying tobacco from 18 to 21.

Last week, Wisconsin Republican Sen. Ron Johnson despatched Trump a letter warning towards “unchecked government action that stifles innovation and restricts adults’ freedom to choose safer alternatives to smoking.”

Asked how disillusioned the primary girl could be if the president didn’t comply with by means of with a ban, her spokeswoman, Stephanie Grisham, who additionally speaks for the president, mentioned Mrs. Trump’s precedence is the well being and security of kids.

“She doesn’t imagine e-cigarettes or any nicotine merchandise needs to be marketed or accessible to youngsters,” Grisham mentioned.

Underage vaping has reached what well being officers name epidemic ranges. In the newest authorities survey, 1 in four highschool college students reported utilizing e-cigarettes within the earlier month.

Anticipating a ban on flavors, Juul Labs, the nation’s largest e-cigarette maker, mentioned this month it could cease promoting its best-selling, mint-flavored nicotine pods.

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