With flavor ban imminent, VTA Fox News ad warns Trump of 2020 reelection defeat
Taking a break from a New Year’s Eve bash at Mara-la-go last night, President Trump seemed to confirm the rumors that a federal flavor ban on vaping products is likely to occur “very, very quickly.” Mainstream media began reporting almost immediately that the ban would probably only affect pod-style and closed-system vapor products like JUUL and VUSE.
Spared from the imminent ban will be separately purchased e-liquids used in open tank systems and predominantly sold in local vape shops and by online retailers. Open-system devices are the preferred choice of adult vapers trying to quit smoking, says former FDA Chief Scott Gottlieb.
Trump alluded to his support for adult-only vape shops when he said during the December 31 presser, “We have a very big industry. We’re going to take care of the industry.” He also suggested that any ban on e-cigarette flavors would be very short-lived but offered no specific details.
VTA commercial features real Trump voters
The rumors began circulating around December 23 when conservative Paul Blair of the Americans for Tax Reform issued an ominous tweet around 1:04 PM. “I’m hearing troubling information that a flavored vape ban is truly being considered by the Trump admin, with an announcement expected as early as today.” Blair wrote. “It’s important that people let @realDonaldTrump @SecAzar @SteveFDA how destructive to jobs and health that would be!”
Within hours, the Vapor Technology Association (VTA) apparently sprang into action. After purchasing a whopping $100,000 of airtime on Fox News, VTA officials began running a TV commercial warning the president that a flavor ban would derail his chances for reelection in 2020.
Skillfully, the VTA ran the commercials in areas surrounding Palm Beach, Florida – the location of Trump’s holiday stay at Mara-la-go. The ad begins with a Trump supporter named Jeff Kathman of Cincinnati, Ohio.
Related Article: NYT: Trump to announce flavor ban; open-system vaping might be okay
“President Trump, I voted for you in the last election, if you enact a flavor ban, I cannot support you any longer.” Kathman says. “If vaping is banned, millions of Americans, your supporters will go back to cigarettes. If you enact a flavor ban, this will cost you the election.”
Interspersed within the advertisement are additional comments made from another apparent Trump supporter, Sarah Rutland of Columbus, Ohio, “There are 545,00 register voters registered in Ohio who also vape,” Ms. Rutland states candidly. “Vaping is 95 percent safe than smoking.” She then ends her opinions by quoting the now famous motto of the vaping community, “I vape, and I vote,” while looking directly into the camera.
This is not the first time that the VTA has taken to Fox News in an effort to speak directly to the president. In mid-October just after a September 11 press conference with reporters at the White House where Trump first announced his intentions to ban flavored vapes, VTA ran another anti-ban ad airing during some of the president’s favorite Fox News shows.
In the October commercial, the VTA cleverly complimented Mr. Trump for squelching any notions of a flavor ban after promising repeatedly to “drain the swamp” during his 2016 campaign. Even though the president hadn’t yet changed his mind, Fox News began reporting within a week that he had put the brakes on the entire concept indefinately.
Polling data published by conservative group Americans for Tax Reform indicating that a flavor ban would “cost him the 2020 election” may have also played a contributing role in the eventual Trump reversal in November. VTA is hoping to have similar success with the latest New Year’s Eve ad, too.