KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 19 – US President Donald Trump has retreated from a ban on the sale of most flavoured e-cigarettes, fearing potential pushback from his supporters.
In September, Trump said he will move with the ban as the nation was gripped with a lung disease epidemic and a rise in vaping among young people.
“We can’t have our kids be so affected,” Trump was quoted saying last September, according to the New York Times (NYT).
But Trump has now gone back on his words, saying he still wants to study the issue, due to pressure from his political advisers and lobbyists to factor in the potential pushback from his supporters, according to the NYT.
“Even a watered-down ban on flavoured e-cigarettes that exempted menthol, which was widely expected, appears to have been set aside, for now,” said the NYT.
On a flight on November 4, Trump was said to have had a talk with advisors who warned him of political repercussions to any sweeping restrictions.
Reviewing talking points on the ban aboard the plane with advisers, Trump took the decision to stop the administration’s rollout of an announcement, including a news conference that Alex M. Azar II, the health and human services secretary, was scheduled to conduct the next day on the issue.
A week later, the president tweeted that he would be “meeting with representatives of the vaping industry, together with medical professionals and individual state representatives, to come up with an acceptable solution to the vaping and e-cigarette dilemma.”
But according to the NYT, one senior White House official said no meeting had been scheduled.
The proposed ban received tremendous support from the public, as the nation faced crises of rising teenage vaping and an outbreak of severe lung injuries.
A total of 2,172 cases of lung injury linked to vaping have been reported in the US as of November 13, with 42 confirmed deaths in 24 states and the District of Columbia.