Did Donald Trump Ban Vaping?
Did the Trump Administration Ban Vaping?
If you’ve been following the news cycle much over the last few weeks, it’s natural to be concerned about the future of vaping as we know it.
Numerous local and state agencies have moved to enact “temporary” vaping bans in the wake of thousands of illnesses and dozens of deaths tied to vaping. While the vast majority of those cases have since been linked to the consumption of illicit marijuana vapor cartridges, nicotine vapers have still been left in limbo following a suggestion from President Donald Trump’s Twitter feed several weeks ago that he would consider a ban on all flavored vaping products.
Under such a ban, only tobacco- and menthol-flavored vapor products, the ones least favored by adult vapers, would be spared, effectively ending vaping as we currently know it. But before panicking, let’s look at the issue in depth and get up to speed.
How We Got Here
Following a summer of increasing panic over a mysterious vaping illness affecting the lungs of more than a thousand Americans, Trump suggested in early September that he would issue “some very strong recommendations” in the weeks to come with regard to banning the sale of flavored e-liquids.
Altria, the parent company of Marlboro and also a major stakeholder in cigalike giant Juul, announced that it would voluntarily halt the sale of flavored products and that it would not argue against a blanket US flavor ban. The company had already pulled its flavored pods from shelves in the wake of a separate youth vaping crisis fueled largely by “Juuling,” a new term invented by teens to specifically reference using the manufacturer’s products.
Congress even took up the call to ban, with a House committee narrowly approving a ban of their own that would also raise the vaping and smoking age to 21 nationwide and block all online sales of vapor products.
Vapers, naturally, did not take kindly to the suggestion of the impending ban. Thousands of vaping rights activists attended a rally in Washington last week to protest any proposed ban, delivering the message “we vape, we vote” to Trump and other elected officials who would consider pushing a flavor ban.
Other vapers voiced their opposition in more sarcastic ways, promoting this website pointing out that many activities are not without risk and pose a greater threat than adult smokers choosing to switch to vaping.
Trump appears, for the time being, to be listening. Following the rally, which he did not attend but observed while flying over in a helicopter, the president declined to sign a memo that would have authorized the ban to take place on a 30-day notice.
What Happens Next
For now, it seems, vapers are safe from a nationwide ban as Trump seems unlikely to sign off on one, whether it be for concerns of vaping voters who might turn on him or, as the White House has said, concerns over vapor industry jobs that would be lost and a question over whether the proper federal authority exists to regulate vape shops.
The president is planning to meet with vapor industry leaders and vaping advocates this Friday, after which point hopefully the broader White House plan to address vaping will become a bit clearer. For now, adult vapers interested in protecting their access to legal vapor products are encouraged to contact their federal representatives and consider joining a consumer advocacy group like CASAA.