Sep 11, 2019

Fear and vaping in our schools

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Prohibition is making a comeback to stop youths from vaping — and everyone from public schoolteachers to the medical community to the Trump family seems on board.

Driving the news: Wednesday, President Trump unexpectedly called reporters into the Oval Office where he — flanked by first lady Melania Trump — said he was exploring a ban on most flavors of e-cigarettes, the most popular brand being Juul.

Why it matters: Today's youth radiate promising statistics on public health — they're smoking less tobacco, using fewer drugs, experiencing lower rates of teenage pregnancy and consuming less alcohol — but vaping is a growing concern.

  • So schools are cracking down: "Thousands of schools across the country are installing sensors in bathrooms to catch offenders. One school in Alabama has gone as far as to remove bathroom stall doors," Reuters reports.
  • Another district began "requiring students to roll up their sleeves when entering school in an attempt to prevent them from hiding e-cigarettes."

"We simply have to remove these attractive, flavored products from the marketplace until they secure FDA approval," said Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar on Wednesday.

  • As we reported last month, state attorneys general are suing and investigating Juul over its marketing techniques, which were highly influential among the youth.

What they're saying:

  • Trump: “People are dying with vaping. We have to find out the extent of the problem. We can’t allow people to get sick, and we can’t have our youth be so affected. ... They're coming home and they're saying, 'Mom, I want to vape!'"
  • On Monday, Melania tweeted she was "deeply concerned about the growing epidemic of e-cigarette use in our children.”

Between the lines: Targeting the flavors, and not the vapor itself, might leave regulators disappointed. Part of the rise of vaping among youths has been the appeal of "vape tricks" videos, which emulate the smoke of cigarettes and marijuana.

Go deeper: Juul's growing kids crisis

Go deeper

Updates: George Floyd protests nationwide

Police officers wearing riot gear push back demonstrators outside of the White House on Monday. Photo: Jose Luis Magana/AFP via Getty Images

Protests over the death of George Floyd and other police-related killings of black people continued for a seventh day across the U.S., with President Trump threatening on Monday to deploy the military if the unrest continues.

The latest: Virginia's Arlington County Police Department said in a statement it withdrew officers from D.C. Monday night after being "put in a compromising position" after they were seen assisting military police and park rangers who used tear gas on peaceful protesters so Trump could walk to St John’s Episcopal Church, near the White House.

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Civil rights leaders blast Facebook after meeting with Zuckerberg

Screenshot of an image some Facebook employees used as part of their virtual walkout on Monday.

A trio of civil rights leaders issued a blistering statement Monday following a meeting with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and other top executives to discuss the social network's decision to leave up comments from President Trump they say amount to calls for violence and voter suppression.

Why it matters: While Twitter has flagged two of the president's Tweets, one for being potentially misleading about mail-in ballot procedures and another for glorifying violence, Facebook has left those and other posts up, with CEO Mark Zuckerberg saying he doesn't want to be the "arbiter of truth."

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Cisco, Sony postpone events amid continued protests

Screenshot: Axios (via YouTube)

Cisco said Monday night that it is postponing the online version of Cisco Live, its major customer event, amid the ongoing protests that have followed the killing of George Floyd.

Why it matters: Cisco joins Sony, Electronic Arts and Google in delaying tech events planned for this week.