President Donald Trump backed off his vow to ban flavored e-cigarettes to combat teen vaping over concerns that it will cost him voters, The New York Times reports.
Trump, sitting alongside Melania Trump, vowed to ban flavored e-cigs in September.
“We can’t have our kids be so affected,” Trump said in the Oval Office. “She’s got a son,” Trump said of Melania, referring to his own son, Barron. “She feels very strongly about it,” he said.
"We're going the be coming out with a very important position on vaping," Trump told reporters. "We have to take care of our kids, most importantly. So we're going to have an age limit of 21 or so, but we'll be coming out with something next week, very important on vaping."
Two months later, nothing:
Two months later, Trump “has resisted” moving forward with the ban amid “pressure from his political advisers and lobbyists” arguing that it could lead to “potential pushback from his supporters.”
Trump was “ swayed by the advisers who warned him of political repercussions to any sweeping restrictions,” The Times reported. Trump canceled a news conference to announce the ban.
White House officials were still hoping for an announcement last week but Trump has “since decided to follow the advice of political advisers to stall on the issue.”
“One such poll was commissioned by John McLaughlin, one of the Trump campaign pollsters, for the Vapor Technology Association,” The Times reported. “The poll, which surveyed battleground state voters who vape, showed negative results for Mr. Trump if he went ahead with a ban, and was passed around to a number of people in Mr. Trump’s circle, including Brad Parscale, his campaign manager, and senior White House officials.”
Ban would be futile, experts say:
The ban was announced in response to a vaping illness epidemic that has been linked to an additive in black market THC oil vapes, not to regular e-cigarettes sold in stores. The ban is intended to cut down on teens vaping, but even there it would fall short.
“Banning flavored e-cigarettes in response to this unfolding crisis might make things worse for minors,” Slate noted. “For one thing, there are already bans on selling e-cigarettes to people either under 18 or 21 (it depends on where you live), and there are laws restricting access to them and/or unsupervised use in almost every state. Banning commercial companies from selling flavors may turn out to decrease some use overall, which in the long term would be good. But it will also likely push others to the black market now, which in this case matters a lot, because that is where the real risks of immediately life-threatening contaminants mainly appear to be…. Cigarette smoking still kills approximately 480,000 Americans per year. So far vaping-associated lung injury has killed exactly six people.”