After announcing plans to implement restrictions on popular e-cigarette flavors last week, President Trump has suddenly retreated from this plan.
Trump announced plans via Twitter to meet with officials and “come up with an acceptable solution to the vaping and E-cigarette dilemma,” rather than endorsing an outright ban.
Many believe Trump’s new position is a response to concerns expressed from Trump’s advisers over how e-cig flavor bans may impact his reelection bid in 2020.
A study last month by McLaughlin and Associates found from a survey of 5,000 voters, who regularly use vaping products, that eighty percent consider themselves “likely” to support a candidate solely based on said candidate’s stance on the use and legalization of nicotine vapor products.
Controversy over e-cigarette products has surged after experts declared a “vaping epidemic” among youth for various reasons, primarily because these products have proven unsafe as the number of e-cigarette related injuries and deaths are on the rise.
As of Nov. 13, over 2,000 cases of lung injury and 42 deaths have been directly correlated to the use of e-cigarette products, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Additionally, E-cigarette companies such as Juul have been accused of advertising to minors. Because lungs can continue developing until age 25, minors are especially susceptible to injury and health concerns related to e-cigarette use.
In his initial plan to ban popular e-cigarette flavors, Trump noted that popular e-cigarette flavors are a contributing reason e-cigarette and vapor products have become so popular among youth.
Executives from vaping organizations such as Gregory Conley, president of the American Vaping Association, have opposed a potential ban of e-cigarette products, citing the success of e-cigarette products in helping adults nationwide stop the use of cigarettes.
Despite ongoing conversations about the e-cigarettes and vapor products on Capitol Hill, USC student voters don’t seem as passionate about such issues.
Senior Alexander Greenblatt said he knows students who regularly use e-cigarettes, but wouldn’t oppose a “good” presidential candidate based on their vaping stance.
“ [A candidate’s vaping stance] isn’t such a priority...it’s not a big deal for them,” Greenblatt said.
Some students said they feel the focus on vaping products in the White House has taken away from more pressing issues.
“The whole thing seems like some kind of distraction, I guess, from something. There are a lot more pressing issues to focus on,” Senior Greenblatt shared.
Freshman Divya Vasireddy maintained a similarly apathetic attitude towards the ban. “I don’t think it’s as big of a deal to me as immigration or some of the things that I think are a larger issue,” said Vasireddy.
Graduate student Katie Kibota also vocalized similar sentiments.
“I feel like [Trump] has a lot of other things he could be focusing on other than [vaping],” Kibota added.
As Trump retreats from his ban, it remains unclear how his administration will tackle America’s “vaping epidemic.”