WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on Friday heard opposing viewpoints in the debate over youth vaping but offered no insight into where he would ultimately come down on the issue after promising two months ago that he would ban most
He said the administration would announce its plan “very soon.”
“We want to take care of our kids, got to take care of our kids,” Trump told reporters after listening to more than an hour of at times robust debate among representatives from the vaping industry, the nation’s major health associations, parent advocates and business groups.
Trump backed off the proposal he announced in September after advisers told him a ban would not serve his political interests.
In Friday’s meeting, he asked most of those seated around the table in the Cabinet Room to spell out their solution.
Health groups told him they support the near-total ban on e-cigarette
“Our stance is very aligned with what you suggested on Sept. 11,” said Gary M. Reedy, chief executive officer of the American Cancer Society, a position shared by the American Lung Association, said its president and CEO, Harold Wimmer.
Others pressed for banning all
Other participants argued for raising the age limit for legal purchases of electronic cigarettes from 18 to 21. Trump said earlier this month that the administration will pursue such an increase. He said Friday that age would be discussed at the meeting, calling it a “big factor.”
Federal law bans sales of e-cigarettes to those under 18, but some states have pushed that to 21 — the same as with traditional cigarettes.
Industry representatives argued against banning sweet, fruity and other
Trump seemed sympathetic to that argument as he compared a
“If you don’t give it to them, it’s going to come here illegally,” Trump said.
Greg Conley, president of the American Vaping Association, told Trump that former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, “who is no friend to your presidency,” is funding a $160 million campaign to try to ban these
Conley and others called instead for increasing the age limit to 21, limiting bulk sales of e-cigarettes and restricting their marketing.
Juul Labs, the nation’s largest e-cigarette maker, stopped selling fruit and dessert
Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, said during the meeting that kids are becoming addicted to nicotine because of the
“It’s a health emergency,” said Romney, the co-sponsor of a bill with Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., that would ban
“I salute the fact that Juul has said we’re taking these products off the market because we care about our kids,” Romney said.
Tony Abboud, executive director of the Vapor Technology Association, said by telephone after the meeting that he urged the administration to adopt its “21 and Done” proposal, which calls for increasing the age limit to 21 and adopting a series of marketing restrictions.
Underage vaping has reached what health officials call epidemic levels. In the latest government survey, 1 in 4 high school students reported using e-cigarettes in the previous month.
Trump had been expected to finalize a ban on most
Associated Press writer Kevin Freking contributed to this report.
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Darlene Superville, The Associated Press