As Trump Tariffs loom, is the GOP turning its back on the vaping community?
Vaping and e-liquid manufacturers in the United States are worried that the Trump tariffs are going to crush their business. An estimated 91% of vaping devices sold in the U.S. fall under the new guidelines, which threaten to send prices skyrocketing by an estimated 25 percent or higher. The move by the Trump Administration is being touted as a punishment for alleged technology infringement by the Chinese government.
Last Tuesday, several members of the American vaping industry alongside leaders of the vapor advocacy community argued against these proposed tariffs at a hearing at the Office of the United States Trade Representative held on Tuesday, according to BuzzFeed News.
News of the Trade War taking direct aim at the American vaping community comes in stark contrast to the largely hopefully optimistic viewpoints expressed by vaping advocates immediately following Trump’s presidential win in November 2016. Trump’s public disgust for all things related to government regulation seemed like the perfect match for a vaping industry under siege by FDA deeming regulations of the previous Obama Administration.
When the newly elected President Donald Trump announced his appointment of Scott Gottlieb to run the FDA, the vaping industry was once again euphoric. Gottlieb, after all, had once been a high-stakes financial investor in the KURE e-cig company. He also just happened to be very close friends with the pro-vaping Jim O’Neill of NJOY fame. The stars seemed to be aligning in favor of the American vaping industry.
Flash forward to August 2018: Vaping still under attack
After eighteen months of a Trump Administration fraught with controversy, scandal, and conspiracy theories, many in the vaping community are beginning to wonder. Is Donald Trump and the GOP really on the side of vaping or not?
FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb has proven to be somewhat of a disappointment. While he has extended the deadline for another five years for finalization of manufacturer coherence to the FDA deeming regulations, Gottlieb is also the political official spearheading a campaign to abolish the sales of flavored e-liquids nationwide.
Then there is Senator Ron Johnson, the allegedly pro-vaping politician from Wisconsin. Following the announcement of the FDA deeming regulations in 2015, Johnson spent the next 9-months writing letters to federal officials demanding more information behind the decision-making process that led to vaping devices being reclassified as tobacco products. Johnson’s letters were either ignored or answered in the usual, nonsensical, political double-speak that essentially means nothing.
Now the vaping industry is facing a 25 percent import tax on all technology, components, and related gear. Meanwhile, states like Massachusetts and Vermont have already increased vaping taxes at the state level, and municipalities like San Francisco are even implementing their own regional vaping bans.
The midterm elections are less than 100-days away, and the Trump Tariffs are looming. Where is Senator Ron Johnson? Where is FDA Chief Scott Gottlieb? Where is Donald Trump? And for that matter, where is the entire GOP? Weren’t they supposed to be on our side?
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