President Donald Trump’s recent decision to illegalize retail of flavored vaping products has created an uproar amongst Americans. In response to the increase of deaths relating to a rare lung disease, which health professionals remain unable to explain, Trump declared “we can’t have our youth be so affected.”
Vaping has become a widespread phenomenon in the United States, initially acting as an aide for adults attempting to quit smoking cigarettes. However, as the production of e-cigarettes has increased, so has their consumption; with new brands and flavors retailing at convenience stores, vaping has become a trend that many, including adolescents, have taken a liking to.
Popular e-cigarette company, Juul, has been the main target in this political action. Often referred to as the ‘iPhone’ of e-cigarettes, their sleek devices prove easy to hide and use — users simply purchase the ‘Juul’ and the ‘Juul Pods’ containing nicotine, which are available in flavors such as Mango, Mint, Menthol and Classic Tobacco.
Handling backlash from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) last year, Juul has already stopped selling their popular flavored pods (such as Cucumber, Mango and Creme) in retail outlets. Though this move has simply allowed other companies to profit off of their own variations of flavored vaping products.
Juul has regarded that, “It has been eager for a government crackdown on those products to level the playing field, as well as to curb youth vaping,” according to an article featured in The Washington Post. Considering this, Juul plans to comply with the FDA in whatever this newly proposed regulation requires, as they support “the need for aggressive category-wide action on flavored products.”
While this issue screams of importance and the need for health professionals to identify what exactly is causing this rare form of lung disease, it leaves room for curiosity regarding the motives of the Trump administration. With around 11,000 deaths each year in the United States resulting from mass shootings, according to Insider, and no gun reform; what encouraged such an urgent response to the seven deaths that have supposedly resulted from vaping?
It’s known that Trump has received massive funding from cigarette manufacturers throughout the duration of his presidency. In fact, “America’s largest cigarette manufacturers, Reynolds American and Altria Group, donated $1.5m to help the new president celebrate his inauguration,” according to The Guardian.
With an entirely new population of Americans addicted to nicotine, that prior to widespread vaping would not have been, it seems convenient that the Trump administration would take a stance on this issue in particular. People that rely on vaping will have to adjust their habits in suit of this regulation, and for some that adjustment will mean turning to cigarettes.
This regulation is one for the books because it’s something that’s been deemed important, and rightfully so, but it’s also a publicity statement that reaches Trumps targeted voters perfectly. Nicotine addictions are no joke, and his aim to ‘protect’ American children is one that will stick in voters’ minds when next November comes around.