Trump budget proposal suggests FDA should BUTT OUT of vaping
Even President Trump seems to have had enough of the nonsensical arguments being made in favor of a national vaping ban. In his 2021 fiscal year budget proposal to congress released Monday, the president appears to be criticizing the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) handling of the growing public hysteria surrounding flavored vapors products and underage sales.
Under the new proposal, Trump wants to strip the FDA of its authority to regulate electronic cigarettes and vapor products – flavored or otherwise. Instead, he wants to create an entirely new agency within the Department of Health and Human Services that is dedicated solely to the regulation of all “tobacco products.”
The move will likely be met with significant backlash from tobacco control advocacy groups. Democratic politicians and even some republicans like the anti-vaping Mitt Romney of Utah may view Trump’s latest decision as a purely political act designed to appease his base.
Political motivations or new pro-vaping stance?
The president’s conundrum over vaping began in September 2019. During a White House press conference, President Trump announced (to the surprise of almost everyone in the room) that he intended to ban the sales of all vaping products due to increasing concerns over teen nicotine addiction from his wife. The announcement occurred right as mainstream media outlets were falsely reporting that a new and deadly “vaping related” lung disease was hitting the teenage vaping community.
By October, reports started surfacing that Donald Trump may have changed his mind. According to his 2020 campaign manager Brad Parscale, a significant percentage of Trump’s voting base just happen to be vape-loving Americans. Implementing a federal ban might backfire on the president’s reelection efforts.
But Trump had already made a promise. So, his administration came up with a creative compromise. Instead of banning vaping altogether, he would sign an executive order that raises the national smoking and vaping age from 18 to 21. When that did not appease the consistently angry, mob-like group of tobacco control lobbyists in Washington DC, Trump made another bold move.
Over the holiday break, Trump sneakily implemented a partial flavor ban on everything except tobacco and menthol varieties. Disposable e-cigs, closed-system devices, and separately bottled e-liquids used in open tank systems would also be exempt.
Still, no one seemed to be overly pleased with his decision. Democrats were still annoyed, and parents of illegally vaping teenagers wanted Nanny State legislation banning the whole kit and caboodle. Even the vapor companies were growing increasingly frustrated for continually being blamed for a mysterious lung disease that had nothing whatsoever to do with nicotine-based vapes. Black market THC-containing products were to blame, after all.
Trump Administration says FDA should regulate food and drugs. Period.
In light of all this incessant handwringing, who can blame President Trump for wanting to avoid the whole anti-vaping affair entirely? By late January 2020, Rolling Stone Magazine was reporting that Trump was apparently so fed up with the whole situation that he screamed to his staff during an Oval Office meeting, ‘I Should Never Have Done That F-cking Vaping Thing.’ The budget released Monday seems to duplicate his previous sentiments.
The Hill is now reporting that the Trump Administration doesn’t see the point of the FDA regulating tobacco or vaping in the first place. Joe Grogan, the director of the president’s Domestic Policy Council, said, “FDA regulates drugs, which help people. It regulates devices, which help people.”
Meanwhile, Trump’s federal budget request says that the FDA should “focus on its traditional mission of ensuring the safety of the nation's food and medical supply." The FDA, it implies, has nothing to do with tobacco, nicotine, or vaping. Period.
(Image courtesy of Leah Millis/Reuters/National Review)