Trump's Ban on E-Cigarette Flavors Endangers Public Health

By dramatically reducing the harm-reducing alternatives to conventional cigarettes, the plan is likely to result in more smoking-related disease and death.


Today President Donald Trump announced that his administration plans to ban the sale of e-cigarettes in flavors other than tobacco, a move that will undermine public health in the name of promoting it. The ban, which the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will impose through regulatory "guidance" it plans to issue soon, will dramatically reduce the harm-reducing alternatives available to smokers who are interested in quitting and is likely to drive many people who have already made that switch back to a much more dangerous source of nicotine.

The flavor ban is aimed at preventing underage vaping, which increased sharply last year. "We are going to have to do something about it," Trump told reporters, describing vaping by teenagers as "a new problem in the country."

Yet in terms of numbers and health consequences, the main impact of the ban will be felt by the millions of adults who have used e-cigarettes to quit smoking. Those adult vapers overwhelmingly prefer the flavors that the FDA plans to ban, and many of them, deprived of the products they are now using, are apt to start smoking again, dramatically increasing the health risks they face. The upshot will be more smoking-related disease and death.

Since selling e-cigarettes to minors is already illegal, a more reasonable approach would have been to improve enforcement of age restrictions. Companies such as Juul, the leading e-cigarette maker, have already taken steps in that direction through robust age verification. If some retailers are still selling e-cigarettes to minors, a logical response would have been to crack down on them. Instead the Trump administration is depriving adults of potentially lifesaving products that seem to be nearly twice as effective in facilitating smoking cessation as alternatives such as nicotine gum and patches.

Trump seems to have been influenced by his wife, Melania, who recently tweeted that "we need to do all we can to protect the public from tobacco-related disease and death, and prevent e-cigarettes from becoming an on-ramp to nicotine addiction for a generation of youth." Yet the flavor ban will undermine that first goal by eliminating the vast majority of the vaping products that provide nicotine without tobacco or combustion. Since the availability of e-cigarettes seems to have accelerated the long-term decline in smoking, the flavor ban can be expected to slow that trend or even reverse it.

The FDA has repeatedly acknowledged the enormous harm-reducing potential of e-cigarettes. Former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb openly agonized about the tradeoff between broad restrictions aimed at preventing underage consumption and the interests of smokers who want to quit or have already done so with the help of e-cigarettes. This decision gives no weight to those interests. The only consolation is that Trump's announcement takes the shine off Michael Bloomberg's latest crusade.

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  1. The only consolation is that Trump’s announcement takes the shine off Michael Bloomberg’s latest crusade.

    Almost worth it.

  2. Can we stop blaming Trump personally for some shit some long time bureaucrats do at the FDA? I doubt they asked his input, and he has more important things to do with his time than micro-manage vaping products.

    1. Since he’s offered to be the face of this bullshit and announce it himself, no. We can’t.

      1. Meh. Insult away, but point still stands, FDA bureaucrats had a campaign against vaping that started before 2016, when in August of that year they finalized regs to declare them tobacco products and thus under their authority.

        1. Reply was meant for Joe the Idiot. But whatever.

    2. I don’t know, when a president literally says “I’m going to do X” i tend to blame him when X occurs. Go away retard.

      1. You clearly suffer from TDS.
        We can’t assume Trump approves of the things he says OR the things he does.
        This is probably a negotiating tactic to get us EVEN MORE freedom.
        Think of the children.
        Hillary would have been far worse by banning ALL products.

        And if you’re not convinced by that, then it doesn’t matter anyway, because if we don’t all give Trump a pass on this one we’ll get someone who will definitely take away our liberties. You wouldn’t want that now, would you? Did I mention think of the children?

        1. you also forgot b-b-b-but Gorsuch!

        2. Hillary would have been far worse by banning ALL products.

          Hillary’s not running but Sanders (leading fundraiser and 3rd in the primary polls) has, on multiple occasions, advocated banning the 22 other flavors of various products on principle.

          And Reason made a libertarian case for him.

        3. Some people are better at using sarcasm as humor than others.

          1. What is this “sarcasm” that you speak of?

            1. Ask Leo. He’s great at it.

    3. “Can we not let Trump take credit for what he says?”

      I bet your corollary is “Can we blame Trump for stuff he didn’t do?”

      1. I will personally blame Trump if He ever dares to expose me to the dangers of unsupervised cheap-plastic-flute blowing!!! These are UTTERLY DANGEROUS “medical devices”!!!

        To find precise details on what NOT to do, to avoid the flute police, please see … This has been a pubic service, courtesy of the Church of SQRLS!

        1. Jesus, dude. It’s been how many years now? And you haven’t found a solution to whatever problem that you have? To be fair, I haven’t read the link you continue to post, because, FYTW. But if you’re unable to hire a competent attorney, find a work around, or just figure out how to comply, then continuously posting your shit here probably won’t fix the problem. I mean, you’ve been posting this shit here, how many times a day, how many days a year, for how many years? FIND A NEW STRATEGY!

          1. “FIND A NEW STRATEGY!”

            Join the rest of the USA in accepting our continued incremental enslavement? We need a doctor’s prescription to BLOW ON A CHEAP PLASTIC FLUTE, fer Chrissakes! Are we gonna roll over dead, like a Good Little Doggie, when they demand that we get a prescription for a toothbrush? A toothbrush is more intrusive into our body than a cheap plastic flute! Let’s just roll over dead for Government Almighty, shall we now?

            Even North Korea doesn’t do this kind of thing to their citizens! Do you LIKE being a little baby for USA Government Almighty-Nanny?

            1. “Join the rest of the USA in accepting our continued incremental enslavement? “

              His point was don’t do this but acting like a squirrel is not an effective way to do it.

              1. Exactly. SQRLSY, your comments are often insightful and entertaining. But your constant attempts to pound your square peg into every round hole that comes along is offputting, and makes people skip the good comments that you do make.

  3. Most libertarian president, EVAH!

  4. Another thing Obama wasn’t able to get done, Trump does with his pen and phone.

    1. Autocracy.

  5. I see on the twitters that the outrage over this isn’t the extraconstitutionality of the action by the Trump administration but that the same is not being done about guns.

    1. Make the FDA issue a guidance on flavored gun oils?

      1. Flavored bullets.

        The second to last thing that went through Bob’s mind was how great this pumpkin spice bullet tastes. The last thing that went through Bob’s mind was, well, the bullet.

        1. pumpkin spice

          If possible, I want my guns to smell more like freedom and victory after I’m done firing them.

          1. I want my guns to smell more like freedom and victory

            So, whiskey and napalm flavored?

            1. The Spice Girls approve of your ideas!!!

              1. I’d still bang Mel B.

      2. Yeah! Gun smoke flavored vape! I’ll start vaping that flavor is introduced.

    2. Like when he said this?

      “I like taking guns away early,” Trump said. “Take the guns first, go through due process second.”

  6. The Trump giveth and the Trump taketh away, blessed be the name of the Trump.

    1. “Government Almighty, giveth, and Government Almighty taketh away; blessed be the name of Government Almighty.”

      Let’s give it up for Government Almighty!!!

      Dearest Government Almighty:
      Our Nannies, who art in D.C.,
      Hallowed by Thy Names!
      Thy Wokeness come,
      Thy Will be done,
      Everywhere, as it is in D.C.
      Give us permission to be,
      And forgive us our 3 felonies per day,
      As we bake cakes for those who are gay.
      Lead us not into incorrectness,
      But deliver us from un-wokeness.
      For Thine is the Empire and the power and the glory,
      Forever and ever and ever! Amen!

      1. See, now that was actually pretty good.

  7. When is he banning pineapple on pizza ?

    1. Donald Trump eats pizza with a knife and fork.

      That should tell us something.

  8. “Companies such as Juul, the leading e-cigarette maker, have already taken steps in that direction through robust age verification.”

    This reads like a tone-deaf press release from a company that was discovered to have conducted and funded ‘school outreach’ programs while claiming to dislike making huge sums from use by children.

    The right-wing media push for the vaping industry is beginning to resemble certain advocacy that was funded by the tobacco industry.

    1. …or like Planned Parenthood, eh Rev?

    2. Juul does not sell flavors other than tobacco and menthol in retail stores. To purchase online is difficult and requires verified state drivers license.

      Juul has bent over backwards. They have not been implicated in the current vape disease.

      For cigarette addicts it is a far less harmful choice.

      1. The current vape disease appears be from black market products. Guess where people will go for flavored vapes now?

        1. “Psst, hey, buddy! Wanna buy some juice? I got ‘Spearmint’ and ‘Mango’. Or, if you wanna feel really good, I got ‘2 in the Pink’; it’s bubble gum laced with ecstasy, man. Or if you wanna get super funky, I got ‘1 in the Stink’, it’s chocolate laced with MJ, heroin and PCP. This stuff will rock your world, dude! I guarantee it!”

          Or, we could just responsibly sell this stuff over the counter, instead of ensuring that it gets sold by opportunistic evil lying bastards who don’t give a shit who gets horrible lung diseases from using their non-quality controlled illegal product. Whatever saves the most lives.

          1. At least we can trust the opportunistic lying bastards not to sell to kids, right?


    3. The right-wing media push for the vaping industry is beginning to resemble certain advocacy that was funded by the tobacco industry.

      That’s why Trump is agin it.

      1. Perhaps Trump, or one of his cronies, owns tobacco stocks.

        1. Perhaps. But you’re still obsessed with winning the “culture war” so you can orally rape others.

          I do feel sympathy for someone that spent their childhood getting beat up by the bigger kids, unless they never learn to deal with and it becomes one of the main influences on them growing up to be a hateful douche.

          1. “Hateful Douche” was my nickname when I was going door-to-door, campaigning for the “R” party… AND when I was doing the same, for the “D” party! When I was going door-to-door, campaigning for the “L” party, everyone told me that they’d vote for my party, except that no one else was going to vote for us!

            Some things never change…

            1. Decent. The end was a bit sloppy.

          2. Jack Crawford: [about the Tooth Fairy] You feel sorry for him.

            Will Graham: This started from an abused kid, a battered infant… My heart bleeds for him, as a child. Someone took a kid and manufactured a monster. At the same time, as an adult, he’s irredeemable. He butchers whole families to pursue trivial fantasies. As an adult, someone should blow the sick fuck out of his socks. Does that sound like a contradiction to you, Jack? Does this kind of thinking make you uncomfortable?

            1. I was about to make a joke about your age, then I remembered I liked this movie. Many years after it was made, but still.

              1. I probably shouldn’t admit I saw it in the theater when it came came out.

                I still have a soft spot due to the double use of Shriekback and a truly awesome featuring of “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida” in the climactic scene.

          3. Not his fault.

            Heel spurs are a terrible affliction.

            Wait, you were referring to someone.

        2. Yep-we all know the “March For Our Lives” generation hates Trump, so if he says he is against vaping, they will be sure to do it.

    4. The right-wing media push for the vaping industry

      It would never even occur to a jar of gall bladders that there might not be a nefarious plot funded by an evil corporation and that this is just about having personal freedom to choose what we put in and take out of our bodies in our pursuit of happiness.

      Gall bladders hate that their host can choose to reject them and are happy to force others to submit to their will.

      Fun fact: the Kirkland Jar Project was an offshoot of the Nazi Science Division. Hail Hydra!

      1. I’m loving this. When does the documentary come out? Will it be on Netflix?

      2. Fun fact: the Kirkland Jar Project was an offshoot of the Nazi Science Division. Hail Hydra!

        So the Rev is like a mentally challenged Arnim Zola? That makes total sense, actually.

    5. “The right-wing media push for the vaping industry is beginning to resemble certain advocacy that was funded by the tobacco industry.”

      To fucking idiots like you, everything looks ‘industry’ and ‘right-wing’. Brain damage does that.

    6. Hey, Rev, before we start the discussion on whether or not it’s a good idea, let’s first determine whether it is even moot. Please refer me to the part of the Constitution which grants the federal government the power to say which ecig flavors that I, a free citizen, may or may not buy?
      *shuffles papers while waiting. Does NOT hold breath*

      1. Well in 2009, Congress did pass the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act giving the FDA power to regulate tobacco as it pleases except that it cannot actually ever ban conventional cigarettes, but is free to ban anything else, and our first smoking president in recent memory signed it into law, so there is that…

        1. I believe DenverJ was referring to Sovereign American Patriot Natural Citizen issues and is more interested in flag fringe and militias than in anything involving Congress.

  9. He’s starting to lose me here. But I’m sure the Democrats will come up with some new, more insane insanity, to keep him looking less awful than they are.

    1. The fact that Trump did it means I need to vote against Bernie lest we end up with only armpit-scented deodorant.

      1. It smells just like Woodstock, or the streets of San Francisco. DE-LISH!

    2. Seriously losing me on this one. When I was a teen we could get cigarettes in 2 flavors, tobacco & tobacco with menthol. Yeah you could get weird imported flavors but nobody bothered. The only question was ya gonna smoke the Lucky Strike’s like a real man or be a pussy and settle for Marlboros.

      1. Djarum. The classy alternative.

    3. This seems to be an issue Trump and the Dems are on the same page about.

      1. I’m sure there are plenty such issues, and only TDS keeps the Democrats from exploiting them. I suspect that if the Democrats hadn’t been so deranged, they could have peeled off some of the Republicans and governed with Trump as a centrist coalition.

        But that’s hard to pull off when you’re committed to claiming everybody who disagrees with you is Literally Hitler.

        1. So then isn’t TDS actually a good thing?

  10. It will not be much longer until we are throwing Americans in little cages for selling black market flavors.

    1. I can’t breathe! Because I inhaled too much vitamin E from black market vape juice!

  11. “If some retailers are still selling e-cigarettes to minors, a logical response would have been to crack down on them.”

    I might add that the effective enforcement of that kind of thing probably happens at the local level.

    The reason your local liquor store doesn’t sell to minors isn’t because they fear a raid by the ATF. It’s because they fear that when their Conditional Use Permit expires, they won’t be able to get it renewed by the city if someone–especially the local chief of police or sheriff–shows up at the city council meeting to renew their CUP and urges the city council to reject their application on the basis of them selling to minors.

    Whether the right to sell tobacco and alcohol should be up for review by your local city council may be an open question, but the fact that effective enforcement comes from local government rather than the feds may not be an open question at all.

  12. Lets take away flavored alcohol as well, everyone know those siegrams lemonaid is just to suck kids into hard liquore

    1. And Nicorette gum. They’re marketing GUM with Nicotine! If that doesn’t scream “kids”, I don’t know what does.

      1. anyone else remember candy cigarettes. walking around just as cool as James Dean with a pack of candy cigs rolled up the t shirt sleeve. good times. I used to put my chewing tobacco can in my rolled up sleeve, when my parents weren’t around.

        1. anyone else remember candy cigarettes.

          Swisher sweets?

        2. anyone else remember candy cigarettes

          Yup. My parents didn’t approve. Which made them that much better.

    2. Don’t give them notions, please.

  13. So what you’re saying is that people, if they can only get tobacco flavored liquid after the fruity flavors they prefer are banned, will resort to tobacco flavored cigarettes instead?

    And this makes sense to you?

    1. Yes it does. Mostly because cigarettes are a better nicotine delivery device than e-cigarettes. So if you have to choose between tasting yuck fairly regularly or tasting yuck less often, you’d choose less often and smoke.

  14. I guess you haven’t been reading the news about vaping-related deaths and lung damage.

    1. I read it on this very blog. Driving these things into the black market is what led to these deaths. So be prepared to see more of adverse consequences if these things are further restricted.

    2. Vape-related deaths and lung disease from black market juice claiming to be THC, CBD or something cannabinoid but made with no quality control.

      So, sure, ban the legal nicotine products made by companies with QC standards, because problems with the illegal black market bootleg stuff.

      Illegal moonshine may contain ethylene glycol and fusel oil and kill or make people sick, so let’s reinstate Prohibition.

    3. Someone doesn’t know how black markets work.

      1. Someone quite obviously doesn’t know a whole lot more than that. Pretty sure s/he’s convinced the gov’t is here to help us.

  15. Given that six people are known to have died as a direct result of vaping, reducing the products’ attractiveness, particularly to teens and young adults, seems an entirely Reason-able public policy.

    1. Where to start with this inanity?

      1. Just anywhere will be fine.

    2. Given that the illnesses appear to be associated with illegal, black market vapes, I doubt this regulation will have any effect on them

    3. Someone doesn’t know how black markets work. Did Huffpo send these millennials over or something?

    4. “Given that six people are known to have died as a direct result of vaping,”

      Given that you’re full of shit, fuck off and die, slaver.

      1. But 6 people! Some of them children, no less! Reeee!

  16. Just ban ALL cigarettes and ALL e-cigarettes. No need for these! Make it a felony to smoke cigarettes or e-cigarettes anywhere in the USA or to have them in your possession. There is not one good reason to have these terrible products in our society. If folks want to kill themselves, let them do it outside of the USA. Hell of a lot more people die from cigarettes and e-cigarettes each year than from car accidents and gunshots combined. Not something we should allow! Ban them! Only reason they are still legal is the tax revenue.

    1. I hope you forgot your [sarcasm] [/sarcasm] flags.

    2. Don’t worry, if Madame Warren is our next POTUS, tobacco/ nicotine products will be second on her list of things to ban (rich people will be first, guns third)

    3. Fuck off, slaver.

  17. Trump! The great Libertarian of our time!

  18. It’s nice to see the progress Reason has made in hiding their anti-cigarette activism under a veil of pro-vaping.

    1. We get it. Reason Man Bad.

      1. Carry more water, leo.
        The fuck kinda *libertarian* argument is “gov shouldn’t go after vapes because they’re healthier than cigs”?
        Way to concede the argument before it’s even started

        1. I’ll grant you, Reason tends towards pragmatism rather than principles in a lot of arguments.

          The headline should be, “Trump’s ban on e-cigs is anti individual liberty”

          Regulating public health is not a valid function of government.

  19. Why do politicians propose useless bans with unintended consequences of promoting black markets and losing legal control of use?

    Could it be … campaign contributions from corporations and fat envelopes from shady lobbyists to block the bans?

  20. Not to worry.

    Trump trumpy woke up today and had himself a think.

    Tomorrow it will be something else. His shrinking staff will move him in the direction of the new squirrel.

    1. “…Trump trumpy…”

      ‘Tards seem to spend most the of the day coming up with ‘clever’ names which probably wouldn’t even get a smile from a 1st grader.

      1. Yeah, Trump trumpy is right! You got a fucking problem with that!

        1. I know you are but what am I?

      2. Have you ever met a first grader?

  21. “prevent e-cigarettes from becoming an on-ramp to nicotine addiction”

    Banning e-cigs will become that on ramp to smoking tabak, my dear

  22. Trump’s Ban on E-Cigarette Flavors Endangers Public Health
    Anybody in the market for a slightly used MAGA hat?

  23. Trump is banning e-cigarettes, but only in certain flavors. Trump now joins ranks with Hillary Clinton and the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. Nice company to be with, I must say. Tell me again the UGE difference between the totalitarians in the Republican party and those in the Democratic party. Nannies all.

    I predict a pretty decent black-market for all those banned flavors, and who knows what will be in them and what actual, real, health consequences will result from this incredible stupidity.

  24. You can buy all the ingredients including nicotine online and make your own juice it’s very simple.

    1. Once all vapes are banned, I see a “Breaking Bad” sequel here

  25. Is this about all vapes, or only cartridges? Is it about all vapes, or only those containing nicotine?

    1. It’s about the juice.

  26. I very much support Trump’s ban.
    Although e-cigarettes are fashionable, they do not appear to be carcinogenic. But more and more young people like e-cigarettes, and e-cigarettes contain harmful chemicals. With the popularity of electronic cigarettes, the younger generation has joined the ranks of smoking electronic cigarettes, and the environment in public places has been polluted.

    1. Slowest bot ever.

      1. I don’t think you are right. Why do you say that I am a bot?
        I just expressed my opinion.

    2. So you think you, or Trump, should be able to tell other people what to do with their bodies?

      Fuck off, slaver.

      What harmful chemicals? How has the environment been polluted?

  27. What’ll the flavor-banners say if/when cigarette smoking by teens and adults increases next year, and the year after? While it declines in Britain, where flavors aren’t banned?

    “Think of the children”? That’ll cut no ice then. Instead, it’ll make them look ultra foolish. Their nemisis is in the pipeline. And I’m licking my chops.

  28. On the anniversary of 9/11, Trump condemns potentially many more people than the 2,977 killed in that attack, if they return to the deadly habit of smoking.

  29. Whitmore and Trump “Legislation? We don’t need no stinking legislation!”

  30. Simplest solution
    Instead of banning just make the makers also make non nicotine vapors and cigs. Instead of eliminated choice we can give them more choices simplest solution that needs no policing, but where would our government be without policing

    1. Every flavor in a vape shop tends to come in zero nicotine. Most smokers tend to go high nicotine to start, then back it down and many will quit, vape zero nicotine, or just stay in the lower levels. Personally I started at 24 mg/ml slowly cut back to 4 mg/ml and have been vaping candy flavor 4 mg/ml for about 5 years now. I also smoke between 2 and 10 cigarettes a day, cut out my vape and I’d probably go back to 2 packs/day. I’d probably give making my own juice a shot, but I’ve tried before and never got anything I liked.

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