I’ve been harping on Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker for his knee-jerk vaping ban. Virtue signaling that has proven to be an economic win for New Hampshire. It was an overreach in my opinion so what of this? The Trump administration is putting the screws to Vape Juice makers.
Baker’s ban was total when the problem was no vaping but after-market juice. I won’t revisit that here, but it was knee-jerk and unnecessary. The Trump administration has announced that flavored vaping products need to be off the shelves in 30-days (except for menthol and tobacco). What’s their reasoning?
“We’re striking a balance,” Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said during a press conference, explaining that e-cigarettes need to remain an “off-ramp” for adults to transition away from combustible cigarettes, but they can’t become an “on-ramp” for children to become addicted to nicotine.
Azar stressed that all vape products are currently “illegal” because they are on the market despite not being cleared by the FDA. They are only allowed to be sold because the FDA is using its enforcement discretion. A judge ruled last summer that e-cigarette manufacturers would need to submit pre-marketing applications to the agency by May 12, 2020. They will then be allowed to remain on the market for one year while under FDA review.
I’m confident that there are a lot of products on the market that do not have FDA approval. I’m also reasonably sure that the issues linked to vaping will continue after these manufacturers get their FDA approvals in order and their products back on the shelves.
Human nature. Aftermarket products will not stop making their way into the hands of the people who want it. Which means what? A War on Vaping?
The Left has been itching to bust vaping for reasons I still can’t explain. It’s a great way to separate nicotine addiction form the harmful effects of tobacco. Every tobacco tax ever raised included some reference to health effects, as if it were not about the taxes.
Vaping comes along to replace tobacco, which, if you’re so inclined, replaces lost tobacco tax revenue and then some. Still, the Left’s impulse is to regulate the crap out of it or even ban it, rather than capitalize on it as a revenue stream.
Nicotine is addictive but not harmful, but liberal cities like to ban nicotine vaping products claiming they are trying to keep them from kids. But kids addicting to nicotine or vaping are only going to vape more unless someone bans it, in which case they have no choice but to use less healthy tobacco.
And it’s not precisely a contrast, but Dems are in on weed if they can tax the crap out of that.
We’ve hinted at a possible connection in the past. Big Pharma makes a bucketload on nicotine cessation chemistry in the form of prescriptions, patches, and chewing gum. Vaping products are a lot cheaper and, you can keep the nicotine and lose the health risks. Until all of a sudden, a few vaping related injuries and deaths turn the new alternative into a devil that has to be banned. At the very least highly regulated.
The left’s connection to big Pharma makes sense. So, what about Trump’s FDA?
If we’re talking about the law – or at least a judge’s ruling (not necessarily the same thing), then the FDA has oversight and juice makers need to get approved.
Tobacco continues to become less legally accessible by age and for health reasons, and there is a case to be made for ensuring vaping products stay out of the hands of kids, whether FDA approved or not.
So, is the Trump Administration handling appropriate? Democrats don’t think it goes far enough, which tells me it may go too far, but I’ll reserve final judgment for later after I’ve learned more. For now, I’m not a fan, but I’m willing to hear more from both sides.