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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.

Go deeper

WHO: AstraZeneca vaccine must be evaluated on "more than a press release"

A medical syringe and vial with fake coronavirus vaccine in front of the World Health Organization (WHO) logo. Photo Illustration: Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Top scientists at the World Health Organization on Friday called for more detailed information on a coronavirus vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford.

Why it matters: Oxford and AstraZeneca have said the vaccine was 90% effective in people who got a half dose followed by a full dose, and 62% effective in people who got two full doses. AstraZeneca has since acknowledged that the smaller dose received by some participants was the result of an error by a contractor, per the New York Times.

Court rejects Trump campaign's appeal in Pennsylvania case

Photo: Sarah Silbiger for The Washington Post via Getty Images

A federal appeals court on Friday unanimously rejected the Trump campaign's emergency appeal seeking to file a new lawsuit against Pennsylvania's election results, writing in a blistering ruling that the campaign's "claims have no merit."

Why it matters: It's another devastating blow to President Trump's sinking efforts to overturn the results of the election. Pennsylvania, which President-elect Joe Biden won by more than 80,000 votes, certified its results last week and is expected to award 20 electoral votes to Biden on Dec. 12.

Dave Lawler, author of World
2 hours ago - World

Belarus dictator Lukashenko says he'll leave post after new constitution

Photo: Valery Sharifulin\TASS via Getty

Longtime Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko has said he will step down after a new constitution comes into force, according to Belarusian state media.

Why it matters: Lukashenko has faced three months of protests following a rigged election in August. He has promised to reform the constitution to reduce the near-absolute powers of the president, but has insisted that his strong hand is needed to see that process through.