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Michael Bloomberg. Photo: Roy Rochlin/Getty Images

Billionaire and former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg's philanthropic arm announced plans on Tuesday to spend $160 million over 3 years in an attempt to ban flavored e-cigarettes in the U.S., saying tobacco companies "are preying on America's youth."

Why it matters: Though Bloomberg Philanthropies has backed efforts to curb tobacco use around the world before, this is reportedly the organization's first time financing an anti-tobacco initiative in the U.S., per the Washington Post. The pledge follows state and federal investigations into multiple deaths from an unknown lung illness linked to vaping.

The big picture: States including New York and Michigan have announced plans to ban the products.

  • Meanwhile, the Washington Post says the Federal Trade Commission is investigating Juul's marketing practices and how their messages specifically target kids and young adults. The FDA also sent the company a warning letter this week for misleading marketing on its vaping technology, especially in its youth outreach.

What's next: Bloomberg Philanthropies will work in coordination with the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. The funds will be used to push local, state and federal governments to implement bans on flavored e-cigarettes, impose stricter standards and encourage the FDA to strengthen its approval process for vaping products.

Go deeper: Juul's growing kids crisis

Go deeper

Updated 6 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Trump grants flurry of last-minute pardons

Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty

President Trump issued 73 pardons and commuted the sentences of 70 individuals early Wednesday, 11 hours from leaving office.

Why it matters: It's a last-minute gift to some of the president's loyalists and an evident use of executive power with only hours left of his presidency. Axios reported in December that Trump planned to grant pardons to "every person who ever talked to me."

50 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Trump revokes ethics order barring former aides from lobbying

Photo: Spencer Platt via Getty

Shortly after pardoning members of Congress and lobbyists convicted on corruption charges, President Trump revoked an executive order barring former officials from lobbying for five years after leaving his administration.

Why it matters: The order, which was signed eight days after he took office, was an attempt to fulfill his campaign promise to "drain the swamp."

  • But with less than 12 hours left in office, Trump has now removed those limitations on his own aides.

Trump pardons former fundraiser Elliott Broidy

President Trump has pardoned Elliott Broidy, a former top Republican fundraiser who pleaded guilty late last year to conspiring to violate foreign lobbying laws as part of a campaign to sway the administration on behalf of Chinese and Malaysian interests.

Why it matters: Broidy was a deputy finance chair for the Republican National Committee early in Trump’s presidency, and attempted to leverage his influence in the Trump administration on behalf of his clients. The president's decision to pardon Broidy represents one last favor for a prominent political ally.

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