Sep 17, 2019

Axios PM

Good afternoon: Today's PM — edited by Justin Green — is 502 words, a 2 minute read.

Situational awareness: Israeli exit polls show Benjamin Netanyahu falling short of the 61 seats needed for a majority. Go deeper.

1 big thing: The anti-vaping tipping point

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

President Trump's surprise announcement last week is just one data point in the sudden tidal wave of anti-vaping action nationwide.

Why it matters: Companies like Juul and others — which now market their vaping products around stopping smoking [Updated] — suddenly face a nasty political climate based on fears of kids getting addicted.

  • Numerous states are pushing major anti-vaping efforts, testing everything from banning flavored cartridges to PSA messages aimed at teens that feel like rehashes of the anti-cigarette movement.
  • That now extends to local government: D.C. suburb Montgomery County is considering a rule that'd ban vape shops from within a 1/2 mile of public middle and high schools — effectively closing 19 of the county's 22 stores, the WashPost notes.
  • Legal vaping manufacturers (particularly in the marijuana variety) are rushing to make sure their product doesn't get mistaken for the bootlegged cartridges that officials believe are causing some of the vaping-related lung illnesses.

The big picture: Hundreds of people nationwide have suffered vaping-related lung illnesses, with 7 deaths.

  • But it's still a mystery what exactly is causing the illnesses.
  • The FDA has pointed to vitamin E acetate in THC vaping cartridges, but "no candidate substances have consistently turned up across samples so far," Scientific American warns.
  • Although most "cases involve pods containing THC ... not all of them do. ... In a good chunk of cases, patients say the one they vaped contained only nicotine. Although it is possible patients do not want to admit to THC use in states where it is not decriminalized, there is no evidence they are lying."
2. RIP Cokie Roberts

Nancy Pelosi and Cokie Roberts in 2016. Photo: Pablo Martinez Monsivais

Trailblazing journalist Cokie Roberts, a role model to generations of young journalists, has died at the age of 75.

  • From her NPR obituary: "A bestselling author and Emmy Award winner, Roberts was one of NPR's most recognizable voices and is considered one of a handful of pioneering female journalists — along with Nina Totenberg, Linda Wertheimer and Susan Stamberg — who helped shape the public broadcaster's sound and culture at a time when few women held prominent roles in journalism."

Worthy of your time.

3. What you missed
  1. Former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski refused to answer questions from the House Judiciary Committee that involved conversations with President Trump not referenced in the Mueller report. Video.
  2. Federal regulators are increasingly fighting over who gets to investigate Big Tech companies like Facebook and Google. Go deeper.
  3. Trump is considering an "individual task force" on homelessness in California, which he said is "destroying" cities like San Francisco and Los Angeles. Go deeper.
  4. Hurricane Humberto has strengthened to a Category 2 storm, with maximum sustained winds of 100 mph as it makes its way toward Bermuda. Go deeper.
4. 1 🗻 thing

Mountaineer Nirmal Purja (L) speaks alongside Nepali mountaineer Mingma David Sherpa. Photo: Prakash Mathema/AFP/Getty Images

"The current record for climbing the world's 14 tallest peaks is almost eight years. Nepali climber, Nirmal Purja, who served in the British special forces, has a target of seven months," AFP reports.

  • "On track to make climbing history, the phenomenal mountaineer has in the process also set several speed climbing records this year."
  • "This included his summits of Everest, Lhotse and Mount Makalu, three of the world's five highest mountains, in a record 48 hours — and despite the deadly overcrowding this season on the planet's top peak."