Trump To Meet With Vaping Industry Reps

Meeting and Monday morning tweet worry public health officials that the administration will abandon plans to take flavors off the market
Robert Calandra

A week after the FDA said it would release the details of its plan to remove all but tobacco-flavored e-cigarette from the market, President Donald Trump tweeted that said he would meet with representatives of the vaping.

The meeting, according to the President’s Monday morning tweet, will include medical professionals and individual state representatives to develop an “acceptable solution to the Vaping and E-cigarette dilemma.”

“Children’s health & safety, together with jobs, will be the focus!” the tweet concluded.

The CDC updates statistics about the EVALI (e-cigarette, or vaping, product use–associated lung injury) epidemic every week. As of November 13, 2,172 cases had been reported to CDC and 42 deaths had been  attributed to the outbreak.

Last week, the CDC identified vitamin E acetate, which is used as a thickening agent in THC-containing e-cigarettes, as a "chemical of concern" in EVALI.

In September, the administration said that it would favor banning all e-cigarettes that were not formulated to taste like tobacco. But since then the administration has walked that back by making an exception for menthol flavors. The president also said that he supported raising the minimum purchase age for e-cigarettes from 18 years old to 21.

According to the Wall Street Journal, public health advocates, including doctors who specialize in treating lung diseases, are worried that the president may be swayed by those attending the meeting. Albert Rizzo, MD, chief medical officer of the American Lung Association, said his group has not been contacted by the White House. The American Lung Association is adamant that any ban should ban the sale of flavors like mint and menthol.

Rizzo is concerned that the mention of jobs in the president’s tweet could somehow be a signal to vape shops to continue selling flavors that appeal to children, the Journal reported. He is not alone. The White House turned down a request for a meeting by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, the Journal reported. 

“With every additional comment from the White House, there is concern that for inaccurate political purposes, they’re backing off what they said,” the group’s president, Matthew L. Myers, said Monday.