White House advisor Kellyanne Conway issued a statement on November 6 which at first hearing may seem less than clear. It came in the midst of a broader statement addressing the Trump Administration’s upcoming plans to ban flavored e-cigarettes. Curiously, Conway appeared to draw a distinction between e-cigarettes and vapor products:
“This is a burgeoning health crisis; the difference is between kids and adults. So HHS and FDA have jurisdiction over cigarettes and e-cigarettes under the Tobacco Control Act. They do not have jurisdiction over vaping and vape shops, for example. So, if we’re talking about e-cigarettes, the president, yes, he’s been discussing this with his team and he will, or HHS, will make an announcement soon.” (Emphasis added.)
It’s unclear if Ms. Conway was making a deliberate distinction between, for example, closed system devices (such as JUUL and RJReynolds’ Vuse line of e-cigarettes) and open system vapor products, or simply drawing her own personal and errant distinction based on a less than thorough knowledge of vapor products.
The FDA offered no comment on Ms. Conway’s remarks, according to reporting from Bloomberg.
Americans for Tax Reform’s Director of Strategic Initiatives Paul Blair, however, responded in a phone interview by saying:
“My hope is that this is an acknowledgement that vape shops should continue to exist and sell reduced-risk nicotine products to adult smokers. If there is an exemption for vape shops, I think the administration has acknowledged the political and policy importance of preserving vaping for adults.”
If this is the case, it is indeed a far more responsible reply than a ban which would effectively drive tens of thousands of Americans out of work and an unguessable number either back to smoking or to the black market.