Dec 29, 2019

Vape lobby again targets Trump

Trump during a White House session on youth vaping in November 2019. Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

The lobbying group Vapor Technology Association is targeting President Trump with a six-figure ad buy in Palm Beach County, Fla., opposing a national ban on flavored e-cigarettes, a VTA spokesperson confirmed to Axios.

Why it matters: As Trump weighs whether to move forward with a proposed ban designed to curb youth vaping, 54 people have died from lung injuries associated with e-cigarette use in 27 states and the District of Columbia as of Dec. 19, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

  • There are 2,506 confirmed hospital cases of the lung injury in all 50 states, Washington and two U.S. territories, as of Dec. 17.
  • While illicit THC vaping products are strongly linked to the vaping illnesses, per CDC, the agency has not ruled out nicotine products.

Driving the news: The ad depicts two voters, one identified as a Trump supporter, arguing that flavored vapor products helped them quit smoking. Banning flavored e-cigarettes will result in vapers withdrawing their support for Trump, costing him the 2020 election, the voters in the ad say.

  • It will air Sunday on Fox News, CNN, and MSNBC in Palm Beach County, Fla., per the VTA's press release. The president is spending the holidays at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach.
  • The ad cites a 2016 Royal College of Physicians report to claim that vaping is "95% safer" than smoking.
    • "Although unknown, the hazard to health arising from long-term vapour inhalation is unlikely to exceed 5% of the harm from tobacco smoke," the report states.
  • Depicting e-cigarettes as a safer alternative to cigarettes is an effective marketing strategy for consumers, the report also states.

Flashback: Conservative leaders circulated data to the White House last fall showing the number of adult vapers in key battleground states greatly outweighs the margins by which Trump won those states in 2016 — and they argue it could cost him reelection.

  • VTA ran its first ad in October.

Our thought bubble, via Axios' Alayna Treene: There are four unsubstantiated assumptions about adult vapers in the case being presented to Trump.

  1. They start out as Trump voters.
  2. They wouldn't vape anymore if they couldn't get the flavors.
  3. They are single-issue voters around vaping rights.
  4. The eventual Democratic nominee would be more vape-friendly.

Go deeper: GOP allies warn vaping ban will sink Trump in 2020

Editor's note: This story clarifies that while illicit THC vaping products are strongly linked to the vaping illnesses, the CDC has not ruled out not ruled out nicotine products.

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CDC confirms 2,807 hospital cases of lung injury linked to vaping

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There are 2,807 confirmed hospital cases of lung injury associated with vaping in all 50 states, Washington, D.C. and two U.S. territories, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports as of Feb 18.

What's new: Because of the consistent declines in new EVALI cases since Sept. 2019, as well as the identification of vitamin E acetate as a primary cause of EVALI, Tuesday's report will be the final CDC update on the number of hospitalized EVALI cases and deaths nationally.

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68 reported dead from vaping-related lung illness

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68 people have died from a lung injury associated with e-cigarette use in 29 states and the District of Columbia, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports as of Feb. 18.

What's new: Because of the consistent declines in new EVALI cases since Sept. 2019, as well as the identification of vitamin E acetate as a primary cause of EVALI, Tuesday's report will be the final CDC update on the number of hospitalized EVALI cases and deaths nationally.

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Trump signals some e-cigarette flavors will be pulled from the market

President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump speak to the press as they arrive for a New Year's celebration at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump told reporters in Palm Beach Tuesday evening his administration would soon announce a new initiative to address underage vaping that would include "certain flavors" being taken off the market.

What he's saying: "[W]e're gonna protect our families, we're gonna protect our children and we're gonna protect the industry."

Go deeperArrowJan 1, 2020