WASHINGTON — In a discussion about e-cigarettes with industry stakeholders on many sides of the debate, President Donald Trump reiterated his support for raising the minimum buying age for vaping devices from the federal minimum of 18 to 21, USA Today reported.
During a “listening” session at the White house with executives from the major vaping companies, health officials and NACS, as well as members of Congress, Trump said, “Twenty-one we are going to be doing.”
Earlier in the fall, Trump and health officials at the federal level signaled they would consider banning flavored vaping products altogether, a position the president appeared to be stepping back from. In his remarks, he expressed concern that initiating a prohibition where a demand exists can lead to illicit or black markets.
“If you don’t give it to them, it is going to come here illegally,” he said, warning “they could be selling something on a street corner that could be horrible.”
It was unclear from the session what direction the president would take with regard to implementing any action on the matter. When asked to comment on President Trump’s recent remarks on vaping, a spokesperson for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) declined comment to CSP Daily News.
Henry Armour, chairman of NACS, attended the event and offered these thoughts: “I appreciate President Trump bringing stakeholders together today to discuss the best path forward on vaping policy. The convenience industry shares his concern with youth vaping and spends millions of dollars every year to help prevent underage consumers from obtaining these products. There are more than 153,000 convenience stores across the nation, including 95,000 single-store operators. I shared with the president our industry’s view that any policy in this area should advance our health goals, be based on data and apply equally across the economy in order to be effective. We hope and trust the administration will follow those basic principles.”
The Nov. 22 discussion at the White House became spirited when Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) said, “Most adults are not using flavors,” which led vaping industry leaders to shout back, “Yes they do!” according to the report.
Romney then pointed out that San Francisco-based Juul Labs voluntarily agreed to stop selling its flavored products, including, most recently, mint. Other vaping executives said flavored products make up a large portion of industry sales, USA Today reported.
Industry executives expressed concern over the discussion’s focus on flavors. Ryan Nivakoff, CEO of NJOY, an e-cigarette company based in New York, said minors using vaping products is “not necessarily a flavor problem.” Joe Fragnito, chief commercial officer of Winston-Salem, N.C.-based Reynolds American Inc., said, “We believe we can market flavors responsibly.”
Among the health officials in attendance were Matt Myers, president of Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Washington, D.C.; Sally Goza, president-elect of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Itasca, Ill.; and Harold Wimmer, president of the American Lung Association, Chicago.
Among those invited to attend the session were K.C. Crosthwaite, CEO of Juul; Howard Willard, CEO of Altria Group, Richmond, Va.; Gregory Conley, president of the American Vaping Association, Stamford, Conn.; and Tony Abboud, executive director of the Vapor Technology Association, Washington, D.C.