When President Donald Trump first announced on September 11 that he is considering a nationwide ban on flavored vaping products, the news was heard around the world. Since that initial White House press conference, signs are beginning to emerge that the president may be waffling on his decision.
For example, Trump tweeted last Monday that his administration “will be meeting with representatives of the Vaping industry, together with medical professionals and individual state representatives, to come up with an acceptable solution to the Vaping and E-cigarette dilemma. Children’s health & safety, together with jobs, will be a focus!” This prompted Kellyanne Conway to address the issue head-on to reporters on the White House lawn just moments later.
“This is a burgeoning health crisis; the difference is between kids and adults…So HHS and FDA have jurisdiction over cigarettes and e-cigarettes under the Tobacco Control Act. They do not have jurisdiction over vaping and vape shops, for example. So, if we’re talking about e-cigarettes, the president, yes, he’s been discussing this with his team and he will, or HHS, will make an announcement soon.”
In yet another groundbreaking interview by Brent Stafford of Regulator Watch, vaping advocate and former Director of Action and Health in the United Kingdom Clive Bates discusses the Conway interview. He also addresses the potential ramifications of a Trump flavor ban and the conflation of nicotine-based vaping with contaminated THC-containing cartridges being sold on the US Black Market.
Bates: Kellyanne Conway is ‘laden with confusion’ over vaping
In the newly released video interview, Host Brent Stafford plays the Conway footage and asks Mr. Bates for his thoughts. The tobacco control expert begins with a slight chuckle while Mr. Stafford is seen shaking his head in disbelief at the absurdity of several of the Conway statements.
“I mean, there’s a lot to unpack there, I have to say,” Bates begins. “I mean, the first thing that strikes me is how much she is across all this. You know, you would expect something like this to be quite a peripheral issue in the office of the president, you know, vaping basically. But obviously, it has gone up their agenda and has hit the political bell, and they are thinking about it, and kind of worrying about how best to handle this.”
Bates further says that he considers this extra attention on electronic cigarettes regulations by the Trump Administration to be a good thing. However, he also believes that Ms. Conway is extremely misguided and ill-informed about the health benefits of electronic cigarette, how the FDA works, and the role that Black Market THC products are playing in the current debate.
“She is laden with confusion about this, which suggests, you know, I mean it is simply not true that vape shops are outside the jurisdiction of the FDA and that vaping and e-cigarettes are somehow different. If she thinks that vaping is synonymous with THC carts, and e-cigarettes are something different, then obviously that is right, but that is not what the common parlance is. And it’s certainly not the case that vape shops only sell cannabinoid vaping carts or whatever. So, there’s a confusion there.”
Bates then openly wonders if Conway’s press conference is an attempt by the Trump Administration to signal to its constituents that it is now focusing more on access of vaping products rather than a complete nationwide ban. Bates supports this possible divergence in primary objectives, saying that limiting what vape companies can do, such as regarding their marketing practices, would help limit teen access to some degree.
However, he continues, there is no “magic” solution to teen vaping prevention. For generations, teenagers have always gained access to products that are legally restricted to adults. Whether it’s vaping, cannabis, or alcohol, history shows that teens will always find a way.
Why is Trump siding with Democrat Michael Bloomberg on vaping?
Bates is also somewhat confused as to why the Trump administration is taking on the issue of teen vaping in the first place, especially so close to an election. With former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg announcing this week that he is considering a presidential run on the democratic ticket, why is Trump siding with his potential political rival rather than his republican base?
“ [One possible explanation is] they have lost their confidence and their mojo in the way that they’ve done this…on bringing the politics of this home and bringing the base into the face of the White House. Maybe that is starting to take its toll, and they’re thinking, ‘Hang on a minute. We are trying…to win an election. Why are we pissing off potentially millions of people in our base? Okay, we may not be able to predict exactly what they are going to do, but we’re not building anything that makes them like us or want [to vote for] us. And we seem to be being run by Mike Bloomberg.’”
Bloomberg is a notorious anti-vaper who has recently committed $160 million of his over $50 Billion personal fortune to promote the future abolishment of the vapor products industry. His financial contributions were instrumental in New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s recent attempts to ban vaping statewide through executive order. The decision has since been overturned by state courts.
(Image courtesy of Regulator Watch)
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