As more information emerges on the dangers of e-cigarettes, President Donald Trump has taken a step back rather than forward. He has reversed himself and dropped his support of a ban on flavored e-cigarettes, arguing that a ban could lead kids to seek illegal alternatives that could be even more dangerous.
President Donald Trump should listen to health care advocates who say a ban is the best way to reduce use, not to the e-cigarette industry.
Since Trump initially proposed a ban on the sale of most flavored e-cigarettes, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has learned even more about the mysterious lung illness that has plagued e-cigarette users across the country.
According to a November CDC press conference, at least 39 people have died from lung injury related to vaping and 2,051 total cases have been reported. New research suggests that the lung injury is linked to vapes containing THC and Vitamin E acetate, a substance that is used to water down the liquid in e-cigarettes with THC, says the CDC. The agency urged people not to use e-cigarettes with THC, especially those that cannot be traced to a specific company but come from friends, dealers or the black market.
In September, the Trump administration announced it was looking at a ban on the sale of most flavored e-cigarettes, which are thought to appeal to children and teenagers. But this month, the president refused to formally agree to the ban, reported The Washington Post, fearing that he would lose public support if vape shop owners turned against him and the economy declined as a result. Now, the administration is pursuing other alternative policies on e-cigarettes.
Some of the options Trump could consider include a flavored vape ban that would exempt vape shops or raising the legal federal age for purchase of tobacco products from 18 to 21. This comes at the same time as the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee has approved legislation that would raise the legal age to 21 for tobacco products, prohibit online sales of tobacco products and extend advertising restrictions on cigarettes and smokeless tobacco to other products, like e-cigarettes.
While the federal government flails, local governments have stepped up. Hillsborough County commissioners unanimously approved a local ordinance this month that raised the legal vaping age from 18 to 21. That applies to both stores selling products to those under 21 and prohibits those under 21 from possessing an e-cigarette.
Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody also announced an investigation into the marketing and selling practices of e-cigarette companies selling in Florida. But local ordinances and a state inquiry will not be enough. The federal government must at some point take decisive action on this issue.
Now that researchers have determined a link between THC e-cigarettes, Vitamin E acetate and lung injury, lawmakers should use this information to inform policy. It just means finding the best way to keep these off the market and away from young people.
More about Trump's Vape Ban :
- Trump Wavered on Flavored-vape Ban and Supported Raising the Legal Age of Tobacco to 21
- U.S. President Donald Trump Heard Opposition from Industry Executives
- President Donald Trump Backed Away from E-Cigarette Flavor Ban
- People Said: They Would No Longer Vote for Trump in 2020 if the Flavors Ban Passes
- Imminent of the Federal Ban on E-Cigarettes Flavors, It Would Not Affect Tobacco And Menthol