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Trump's course correction on e-cigarettes

 
1st December 2019
Annie Karni, Maggie Haberman, and Sheila Kaplan of the New York Times describe U.S. president Donald Trump’s proposed ban on flavored e-cigarette products as “a swift and bold reaction to a growing public health crisis affecting teenagers” that Trump backed away from “under pressure from his political advisers and lobbyists to factor in the potential pushback from his supporters.” Maybe they’re right about Trump’s motivations, but they’re wrong about pretty much everything else. E-cigarettes are not a “public health crisis.” That supposed crisis is not “growing.” And to the extent that teenagers are negatively affected by e-cigarettes, the very “bold reactions” the three writers seem to favor are far more culpable than e-cigarettes themselves. E-cigarettes are, according to all credible evidence, safer than burning sticks of tobacco — sorry, Food and Drug Administration, you don’t get to tell me I can’t say so. A few cases of lung injury from black market “street vapes” have been reported, the cause (use of vitamin E in the “juice”) seems to have been identified, and that problem is already disappearing in the rear-view mirror. Who buys “street vapes?” People who can’t buy the e-cigarette products they want legally, either because of content (cannabis) or age (the teenagers the Times authors imply they care about so much). Banning flavored e-cigarette products wouldn’t stop teenagers, or anyone else, from getting flavored e-cigarette products. It would just send even more of them to the “street vape” market for those products. If Trump reconsidered his proposed ban due to political pressure and the desire to be re-elected, so what? A good decision is a good decision.

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