Does the Pending Federal Ban on Flavored E-Cigarettes Endanger Trump's Re-Election?

A new poll suggests it does—and campaign officials agree, leading the administration to consider exempting more flavors.


A new poll suggests that Donald Trump is endangering his re-election by supporting the pending federal ban on flavored e-cigarettes. Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) reports that "a significant number of adults [who] use e-cigarettes in seventeen key battleground states indicate that they will reject President Donald Trump's re-election bid if his administration moves forward on a proposed plan to ban all flavored e-cigarettes, on that issue alone."

The poll, which was commissioned by the Vapor Technology Association and conducted last week by McLaughlin & Associates, asked 4,669 e-cigarette consumers in those 17 states (Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin) about their voting intentions. Nearly all (96 percent) said they were likely to vote in the 2020 presidential election, and nearly all (99 percent) were opposed to a ban on flavored e-cigarettes. More than four-fifths (83 percent) said they were "likely" to vote for or against a candidate "based solely on his or her position on vaping products or issues."

Almost three-quarters of respondents (74 percent) said they would be less likely to vote for Trump if his administration imposed a ban on e-cigarette flavors, which the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has proposed in response to vaping by teenagers; 65 percent said "much less likely." That sentiment was strong even among groups inclined to support Trump: 65 percent of people who approve of the job he is doing nevertheless said a federal ban on flavored e-cigarettes would make them less likely to vote for him, as did 65 percent of Republicans, 62 percent of conservatives, 83 percent of independent men, and 79 percent of independent women.

"This new poll further confirms what Americans for Tax Reform has long argued, that millions of adults who use flavored nicotine e-cigarettes to quit smoking will vote on that issue and that issue alone," says Paul Blair, ATR's director of strategic initiatives. "Banning flavors would be a significant political liability in every single one of the states that Donald Trump needs to win next year, especially in states like Michigan, Florida, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, which have at least two million adult vapers."

Nationally, according to a 2018 Gallup survey, 2 percent of American adults, or about 4.2 million people, are regular vapers, while another 7 percent (about 14.6 million people) vape occasionally. It's not surprising that people who have switched from smoking to vaping—as 94 percent of the McLaughlin & Associates sample said they did—are strongly opposed to the pending federal ban, which would eliminate the e-liquids that former smokers overwhelmingly prefer.

Last week The Washington Post reported that Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale worries that a federal ban on flavored e-cigarettes "could backfire in the 2020 election." That concern, the Post reported today, may lead the administration to revise the FDA ban, which originally would have covered all flavors except tobacco, to exempt mint and menthol as well.

"We are heartened to see signs that the Trump administration is beginning to recognize that its rush to judgment on flavors was misguided," Gregory Conley, president of the American Vaping Association, says in a press release. "A ban on flavored nicotine vapes will have zero impact on the health crisis we are seeing with illegal THC cartridges. What this will do is deprive many adult ex-smokers of the vape flavors they rely upon to stay smoke-free."

But Conley cautions that "carving out certain flavors to benefit one company simply will not be effective at achieving any of the White House's goals." He is referring to Juul Labs, the leading e-cigarette company, which recently announced that it had pre-emptively suspended sales of pod flavors other than tobacco, mint, and menthol. Even if the Trump administration decides to tolerate mint and menthol, Conley says, "we will still have a heavy-handed ban that will kill tens of thousands of jobs and cause [many] fewer adults to quit smoking. President Trump should scrap the flavor ban altogether and work on solutions that actually make sense for both adults and youth."

[This post has been corrected; the poll was commissioned by the Vapor Technology Association, not ATR.]

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  1. Almost three-quarters of respondents (74 percent) said they would be less likely to vote for Trump if his administration imposed a ban on e-cigarette flavors, which the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has proposed in response to vaping by teenagers; 65 percent said “much less likely.”

    Did the poll ask if people know what the progs would ban?

    *** clicks link ***


    1. That’s the thing, isn’t it. The other side isn’t likely to be any better.

      Seems like an odd and difficult to interpret poll.

      1. It seems that the poll was relating to politicians in general, even while they use Trump as their measure. Presumably because his administration is in power, although it’s notable to mention that all candidates are in favor of banning or controlling the e-cigarette market so it’s unclear how this will hurt Trump more than anyone else. Maybe if there was a candidate that wasn’t in favor of regulating, but there aren’t any of those to be found.

        In fact, Trump may be the least likely to outright ban the industry regardless of any regulations they saddle e-cig’s with. It’s near certain that is the aim of the left since they view smoking as a moral defect that harms the public treasury. Given their outlook on ‘free medical care for all’, it necessarily means they will regulate your life to reduce medical treatment in any way they choose.

        In a world with ‘free healthcare to all’, it necessarily means that risky behaviors the individual engages in be made illegal to protect the publics financial stake in your health. Right? Your health individually can result in more taxes on your neighbor, and thus everything becomes something that harms your neighbor, and must be legislated.

        ‘The Public’, in general, are stupid though so it’s not entirely unreasonable to guess that they might punish the person in power who has less-terrible views than those seeking office to replace them. People are funny like that.

        1. Yep. “Fuck the devil you know.”

        2. And that’s why in the UK where health care is a right there are vaping stores in hospitals. Maybe it’s because they don’t want to have to pay for *smoking* related disease care and they also have deemed vaping at least 95% less harmful than smoking per the Royal College of Physicians- the most prestigious and long standing organization of doctors in the world.

  2. Ok, and they are going to go where? Given how the Congressional Democrats acted in the recent hearings, is there any Democrat candidate who is against banning e-cigarette flavors or banning e-cigarettes entirely?

    1. Stay home or vote for Vermin Supreme? I know throwing away ones vote is counter productive especially when we are facing the most important of our lifetime, but that is what I plan to do.

      1. The question was more how is it losing votes for Trump. Especially since much of public reaction to vaping is disgust

  3. History lesson:
    Polls and Trump do not play well together.

  4. Such a ban would clearly be UNconstitutional. So why even do it?

    NOWHERE does the Constitution burden FedGov with any responsibility over what we do/do not put into our mouths, or for that matter, any other body part, including our veins.

    Further since it is NOT prohibited by the Constitution to the states to manage such things, the states MAY do so, consistent with their own constitutions.

    SO if Trump pushes this it will make him less attractive to we who believe ALL LAWS enacted MUST BE consistent with our federal Constitution.

    Don’t these clowns see behind the smoke/vapour screen emitted by Big Tobacco and Big Pharma/Medicine? Those guys hate anything that may, might, could, would, or even think about reducing their business volume. Trump the Bidniss Mann ought to do a better job of seeing past that one.

  5. “Hey, illicit unregulated vape cartridges may pose a health risk! We hate these people. How can we make sure to drive even more smokers to unregulated cartridges?”

    At least, that’s the only line of thinking that makes any sense.

    1. I figure if you’re stupid enough to vaporize random liquid chemicals from the 16 year kid selling dank vape products out of his trunk that you probably need to leave the gene pool anyway. So good luck with that.

  6. Only 6% to 8% of vapers smoke a tobacco flavor. You know why? None of the several “tobacco” flavors I’ve tried taste anywhere near as good as the real thing. Most of them probably haven’t tried other flavors … yet.

    Yes. We vape. And we vote.

  7. Do I believe the people that are likely voters will vote (or not vote at all) for the opposing candidate over Trump over flavored vape nation yeets. I don’t think so. These polls are worthless.

    1. I think flavored vape bans are stupid even though I don’t like flavored vapes I’ve tried myself, but that said, people who are most against the ban to the point where it will affect their vote probably will not vote at all, which could tilt some of the swing states in the dems favor, and we all know that the Democrats will probably ban or tax e-cigs out of existence.

  8. The answer is NO. Trump voters don’t care enough about vaping.

    1. Curiously, the democrat candidates have not said much about vaping (probably don’t want to lose the votes if the 18-34 demographic) although we all know what mosy will do if elected-ban it outright…I’m not sure if maybe one of them wouldn’t be as bad as say Warren would be on this, but I doubt it…

    2. The Don’s party platform contains planks for legalizing electrical generation and power lines. They have nothing to fear but libertarian spoiler votes. There were a helluva lot more of those than the so-called “Democratic victory margin” in the popular vote count.

  9. Since I already vote libertarian and will not start vaping until Yageine is a flavor, the obvious strategy is to make sure every voter tapering off of government-subsidized tobacco knows that Libertarian candidates will not only defend your right to blow off steam, but invite the prohibitionists to test their mettle with pepper spray at dawn!

  10. So almost all vapers are voters and almost all of them are single issue voters? Sure. Ok.

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