With over two months of seemingly nonstop media propaganda, speculation and fear, the vape industry finally is being heard.
On Friday November 22, 2019, President Trump held an open forum meeting with anti-vaping figure heads, lawmakers, and vaping executives to better understand the state of vaping in America. This meeting was being held amid increasing pressure from anti-vaping special interest groups and pro-vaping advocates looking to have their voices heard.
Trump made it clear that the purpose of the discussion was so that each side could make their points and he could listen as to take a more informed legislative decision.
The overwhelming sentiment from the anti-vaping proposers was that, although vaping can be a way for adult smokers to switch from traditional combustion cigarettes, children need to be protected from these vape products. Citing the rise in youth vaping rates as the main evidence.
“I like your original solution. I think we ban all flavors, I think we take it to twenty-one, and we ban advertising.” Stated Penny Nance, CEO of Concerned Women For America, when asked by President Trump on what her solution would be.
The consistent action these anti-vape advocates thought should be taken was having a sweeping flavor ban, raising the purchasing age, and harsher regulations on marketing.
Adversely, pro-vaping attendees made it clear that flavors were not the issue and the consistent action they believed should be taken was stricter regulations on sellers of vape products including implementation of age gating practices. They also stressed the importance of punishing vape shops or convenience stores that sold to the youth.
Nuance always seems to be “conveniently” lost on the side of anti-vapers. Although, some salient points were presented by CEO of NJOY Ryan Nivakoff in response to a direct question about banning of flavors from president Trump Ryan emphatically stated, “Nobody is disputing that children prefer flavors, so do adults, 93 percent of adults use flavors as well. That’s not the point. Here’s the point Mr. President. There are four companies that will remain standing if you ban flavors Juul, NJOY, Reynolds, and Imperial (brands) Tobacco… it’s not bad for my business for you to ban flavors.”
When Nivakoff was asked why he was fighting for flavors he continued by saying, “because adult, just like flavors help as a conduit for kids to use it… it’s a conduit for adults to switch from tobacco and use vapor products.”
Who would have imagined a roundtable conversation with some of the largest supporters of vaping going head to head with some of the largest anti-vaping arms would get heated at times. Tempers seemed to flare as the meeting progressed as facts were presented by both sides and denied as being truthful.
There was even some disagreement between Senator Mitt Romney and vaping executives on just how many jobs would be lost if a nationwide flavor ban was implemented. Romeny seemed to want to downplay the economic effect of such actions despite the evidence presented from the other side.
Greg Connelly, the President of the American Vaping Association, went as far to say that the anti-vaping special interest groups pockets were being lined by billionaire philanthropists like Michael Bloomberg. Making the clear insinuation that they were not at the round table to find middle ground and solutions but were there to execute an agenda.
So, what did Trump hint he wants to do about the current vaping situation? It seems likely Trump wants to implement 21+ new age restriction nationwide. Trump also floated the idea of letting individual states make their own legislation in regard to vaping laws. President Trump also added how important the children were by saying, “We want to take care of our kids. We’ve got to take care of our kids.”
Knowing exactly what resonated with Trump the most is hard to say. Trump has made it known that the decision he makes will be about keeping children safe while considering the impact on jobs.
So, yet again we wait for an update from the President or his administration on the final decision. Overall, Mi-One Brands thinks the individuals who represented the vaping industry and community did a fine job. They presented their viewpoints in a respectful manner that was hopefully digestible for President Trump.