Companies that produce electronic cigarettes and e-liquids are beginning to push back against the widespread anti-vaping hysteria of recent weeks with more aggressive lobbying tactics and a new ad campaign reminding politicians that people who vape also vote.
Politico reports that the Vapor Technology Association, the lobby for manufacturers of e-cigs and producers of the nicotine-infused liquids that go into them, said it is spending more than $83,000 to oppose plans by federal authorities to ban flavored liquids or otherwise curtail the sale of their products.
And the efforts appear to be paying off.
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said last month, following reports that teens are taking up the habit in record numbers, that the administration would soon ban the sale of all flavored e-liquids. The Washington Post reports that officials are reconsidering the move, however, after internal polling by President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign said the ban could be politically costly.
The administration is now said to be considering allowing the sale of mint and menthol-flavored e-liquids but banning the myriad other flavors now on the market.
The push to roll back vaping began gathering steam in recent months following reports from the Centers for Disease Control that hundreds of people have been sickened, and at least two dozen died, after using electronic cigarettes. The vast majority of the cases involve people vaping illegal liquid containing THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana.
In the weeks following the reports, public health authorities in Massachusetts and Michigan imposed temporary bans on the sale of all e-cigs, and other states began moving in the same direction. Most of the bans, however, have been blocked by courts, including a measure to ban flavored e-liquids in Utah, which was put on hold by a judge Monday morning. The judge ruled that state officials did not establish a link between the flavored products and the recent lung illnesses.
Friday, the CDC said the number of cases of the illness, which it has come to call EVALI, short for e-cigarette, or vaping, product use associated lung injury, has leveled off and is declining in some instances.