Trump Retreats From Flavor Ban for E-Cigarettes - The New York Times
WASHINGTON — It was a swift and bold reaction to a growing public health crisis affecting teenagers. Seated in the Oval Office in September, President Trump said he was moving to ban the sale of most flavored e-cigarettes as vaping among young people continued to rise.
“We can’t have our kids be so affected,” Mr. Trump said. The first lady, Melania Trump, who rarely involves herself publicly with policy announcements in the White House, was there, too. “She’s got a son,” Mr. Trump noted, referring to their teenager, Barron. “She feels very strongly about it.”
But two months later, under pressure from his political advisers and lobbyists to factor in the potential pushback from his supporters, Mr. Trump has resisted moving forward with any action on vaping, while saying he still wants to study the issue.
Even a watered-down ban on flavored e-cigarettes that exempted menthol, which was widely expected, appears to have been set aside, for now.
“Bans don’t work,” he said. “They never have.”
Mr. Trump has also been under an intense lobbying campaign over the past seven weeks, waged by tobacco and vaping companies, along with conservative organizations, like Americans for Tax Reform, which are opposed to regulatory limits that would affect retailers, small businesses and adult consumers of e-cigarettes. Some have promoted enforcing sales restrictions to protect minors, or raising the national age to 21 for sales of all tobacco products.
The trajectory of the flavor ban — from a bold pronouncement of swift action to a fizzle after the political realities of taking such an action emerge — is similar to Mr. Trump’s stance on gun legislation.