Iowa AG blasts Trump flavor ban and national anti-vaping hysteria

Iowa Attorney General Thomas J. Miller has been one of the most vocal proponents of vaping as a healthier alternative to combustible tobacco.  As far back as January 2018, Miller blasted the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) when rumors began leaking to the press that the agency was considering a nationwide vaping ban.  In the Iowa AG’s view, banning all vapor products in an effort to curb teen vaping is “overly simplistic” reasoning. 

“We are concerned that some prominent commentary about flavors in low-risk tobacco and nicotine products, including that provided in the Surgeon General’s 2016 report, is overly simplistic in presuming that the primary purpose and consequence of offering flavors is to recruit current non-users, especially youth, to nicotine use. A proper assessment requires a deeper analysis, and must at least consider the possibility that these low-risk products can function as alternatives to combustibles…”

Now that President Trump has announced his own intentions to implement a similar federal ban on all flavored e-liquids with the exception of menthol and tobacco flavors, AG Miller is once again making the news.  In a recent interview The Gazette based in Cedar Rapids, Miller says that the government should be doing more – not less - to encourage adult smokers to switch to electronic cigarettes.  A Trump vaping ban would be “life-threatening” to millions of Americans.

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In a letter to White House’s U.S. Office of Management and Budget on October 3, Miller writes, “We believe the United States is heading for a crisis in this field [vaping] in 2020 with potentially millions of Americans facing life-threatening regulation imposed by the federal government.”

The Iowa AG also seems unfazed by the recent national hysteria over an alleged outbreak of lung injuries breaking out across the country.  In Iowa, the Department of Health has reported a total of 43 cases of the “vaping-related” illness.  34 of those cases have admitted to using Black Market THC-containing products. 

“I think everything points to that Black Market THC that’s causing this, not the standard e-cigarette product that you buy in a convenience store,” Miller told The Gazette.  “If e-cigarettes are used properly — just by people who need it — it is a very good thing.  It’s why people have proposed regulation similar to a prescription method. In a sense, people who need these can get these and people who do not need these, there’s no way for them to get them.”

Miller also notes that too much focus is being placed on youth vaping.  While he does agree that further measures should be taken to keep vapor products out of the hands of kids, he also says that state and local governments are neglecting the adult vaping community by passing these bans.  “We’re neglecting the adult side,” he says. “We’re not getting the message out for smokers to switch to e-cigarettes and there’s enormous confusion about the health consequences. We need to clarify that.”

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(Image courtesy of GrimmGreen/YouTube)

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