Two months after President Donald Trump announced that he would pursue a ban on flavored electronic cigarettes, he appears to be reconsidering the move.
In September, Trump said he would ban flavored e-cigarettes after a series of deaths and lung illnesses related to vaping were reported. Currently, there have been 40 deaths linked to vaping and 2,000 people have reported lung illnesses caused by vaping. Although, most of those deaths and illnesses were linked to THC products.
At the time, several states banned flavored e-cigarettes, which led to a massive campaign by vaping and tobacco companies to lobby lawmakers and Trump against restrictions.
In October, the Vapor Technology Association said it was planning to spend $83,000 to oppose restrictions on vaping products, as IJR has previously reported.
The restrictions by states and Trump’s vow to ban flavored e-cigarettes led to an outcry from the public especially from teenagers — e-cigarettes are incredibly popular among high school students.
NPR reports that roughly 10.8 million Americans started vaping last year and that more than 25% of high school students use vaping products.
It appears that efforts by the tobacco industry to fight restrictions have been working. In October, The New York State Appellate Court issued a temporary hold on the statewide ban of flavored e-cigarettes, which was set to go into effect while it considers the vaping industry’s lawsuit challenging the ban.
The New York Times reports that advisers to the president urged him to reconsider the ban saying it would hurt his re-election chances. While en route to a November 4 rally, advisers warned Trump that the ban would not benefit him politically.
In another instance, advisers also told Trump that a poll of voters from swing states, who use vaping products, found that if he instituted the ban on flavored e-cigarettes it would hurt their view of him and imperil his electoral prospects.
While Trump has not yet officially rolled back the ban, he has slow-walked progress and delayed announcements about the restrictions.
ABC News reports that Trump had a flavored e-cigarette ban awaiting his signature but that he has delayed signing citing concerns about the election and job losses related to the ban.
It is unclear if the president has decided to scrap the ban, but the Times reports that White House advisers are hoping the president changes course.