POLITICS

President Trump caves to the nanny state on flavored e-cigarettes

President Trump caves to the nanny state on flavored e-cigarettes

The Republican Party stands for free markets and individual liberty, or so its platform states. But apparently that all goes out the window when Republicans win the White House and decide to cave to media pressure and ban stuff they don’t like.

In the latest example, President Trump and his administration have decided big government is necessary to combat the massive threat posed by: flavored e-cigarettes. Yes, really.

At a meeting Wednesday alongside Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, Trump announced his administration’s plan to immediately halt all flavored e-cigarette sales through Food and Drug Administration regulation. Speaking to reporters, Trump said, “Not only is [vaping] a problem overall, but really specifically with respect for children. We may very well have to do something very, very strong about it.”

President Trump: “We have a problem in our country. It’s a new problem. It’s a problem nobody really thought about too much a few years ago and it’s called vaping, especially vaping as it pertains to innocent children.” pic.twitter.com/jy6msEPcNn

— CSPAN (@cspan)
September 11, 2019

I just announced with @POTUS and @FDACommissioner that we will be finalizing policies that will clear flavored e-cigarettes from the market. New provisional data show that youth use continues to rise rapidly, and we will not stand idly by.

— Secretary Alex Azar (@SecAzar)
September 11, 2019

This is idiocy of the highest order, responding to a fake crisis manufactured by the media.

The Trump administration’s cave comes after a sustained media push in recent weeks attempting to seize on a few isolated, albeit concerning, incidents to push the false narrative that e-cigarettes pose a threat to public health. The media narrative has focused on the deaths of six people who were killed by vaping-related lung illnesses. In comparison to these six deaths, an average of 480,000 people die each year from traditional cigarette smoking, and about 88,000 die in alcohol-related deaths.

Even so, the Trump administration response makes no sense. In several of the deaths the media has covered, users consumed black market products.

So we’re cracking down on legally sold products in response to the danger of illegally sold products?

Reason‘s Katherine Mangu-Ward summed it up nicely:

My god. The intense stupidity of this logic:

1) Black market vape cartridges made people sick, so

2) let’s pass a bunch of regulations to push more popular types of vape cartridges into that same black market.

3) Lives will be saved!

Wait, no. THAT WON’T WORK AT ALL. Argh. https://t.co/L2V3YUf4EM

— Katherine Mangu-Ward (@kmanguward)
September 11, 2019

Over-regulation, however, does indeed come at a sharp cost. The banning of e-cigarette flavors might, understandably, sound like no big deal at first glance. Yet these flavors have helped adult smokers of traditional cigarettes tremendously in their efforts to wean off harmful old-fashioned tobacco products. Banning flavors might push these people to illicit sources.

Seeing as e-cigarette products contain nicotine, but not tar and other carcinogens, they offer a vastly superior alternative to old-fashioned smoking. In fact, some studies have found that e-cigarettes are up to 95% less harmful than traditional cigarettes.

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