Wed. Jul 8th, 2020

Ban on Flavor? – the Mystery Continues.

The hottest topic of flavor ban has been in the news again this week. This time the intensity has gone a level up, as the speculations of finally a policy for flavor ban begins again. The Trump administration looks very certain this time as the signs show the possibility has gone up.

The incident that broke the news was the meeting of the vaping consumer and industry organization with White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) was cancelled. The email read that the rule was “no longer under review.” The meeting was supposed to be carried out to discuss the proposed FDA flavor rule.

This move from the Trump administration indicates that they are ready with a decision about the policy and would announce it any time soon. This also means that there will be no further update or addition from the vapers side or small vendors.

A very disappointed American Vaping Association president Gregory Conley told Bloomberg. “It feels like a slap in the face. You had a lot of store owners and manufacturers from across the country that requested meetings, and booked flights and hotels, only to get an email at 2 o’clock in the morning.”

The final meeting that the OMB held was with the anti-vaping group Truth Initiative. Also present in the meeting were representatives from the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Heart Association, and American Lung Association. All the organizations present had filed a petition for flavor ban and to speed up the PMTA deadline.

The meeting saw a concluding remark from the White house after which the guidance was passed on to FDA after making the final changes. As the meeting was taking place a group of Tobacco-Free Kids “youth advocates” and representatives from Parents Against Vaping e-cigarettes (PAVe) delivered a petition with 111,000 signature, supporting a flavor ban.

If we look at all this from a broader perspective we can see one thing, even after so much promotion of the law, anti-vaping protests and commercials the entire thing was just hyped looking at the not so impressive numbers of signature they managed to get.

The reaction to this was seen on social media on Tuesday when the vapers were angry about the entire incident. But FDA watched it and to add fuel to fire they hyped the FDA/CDC study of unpublished 2019 National Youth Tobacco Survey data that concluded. “In 2019, the prevalence of self-reported e-cigarette use was high among high school and middle school students, with many current e-cigarette users reporting frequent use and most of the exclusive e-cigarette users reporting use of flavored e-cigarettes.”

Wednesday morning was a mixed bag, the vapers didn’t get the awaited explanation from the FDA but the White House adviser Kellyanne Conway spoke to the media, and surprisingly she spoke all the weird and incorrect things about the upcoming announcement.

She further said. “This is a burgeoning health crisis; the difference 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.”

While we talk about the idea of selling regulating products in age restricted areas, we must look to see if it would be legal under the Tobacco Control Act. As former FDA Scott Gottlieb tweeted about it earlier, although he never did anything regarding the same.
Thursday was rather surprising as the news broke, JUUL decided to discontinue JUUL pods which is one of the most popular flavors. The company also said it agreed with FDA that “we must reset the vapor category in the U.S.” This came after a staff from the congress informed that the FDA might make the announcement anytime.

‘On the other hand’ vapers had been trying their best by showing their anger on social media. They have been tweeting at the President, campaigning against Brad Parscale, and Melania Trump and Kellyanne Conway, who are assumed to be the main reason behind the entire scenario. Vapers are using hashtags such as #WeVapeWeVote everywhere.

The protest is rising every minute, be it on the streets or on social media. Twitter has seen a shower of vapers furious against the policy, so much so that people have started to call them bots. Also they have planned a mass demonstration in front of the White House. This appears to be a milestone moment for vapers. Thousands of vapers are expected to stand up and protest against the ban.

The latest way of protesting came from twitter when photographer and vaping advocate Jon Luvelli had asked vapers on Twitter to post 15-second videos opposing the flavor ban using the hashtag #15sec4vape. The movement started trending and became viral, by the end of the week. This was also an answer to critics who claimed them to be bots.

Friday morning, President Trump spoke with reporters in front of the White House, and questions were asked about the vaping rules. “We’re going to be coming out with a ‘very important’ position on vaping,” said Trump. “We have to take care of our kids, most importantly, so we’re going to have an age limit of 21, or so. But we’ll be coming out with something important by next week on vaping.

“We have a lot of people to look at, including jobs, frankly, because you know it’s become a pretty big industry,” he added. “But we’re going to take care of…now there’s also…when you mention vaping you’re talking about e-cigarettes, you’re talking about a lot of different things. But we’re coming out with a big paper next week.”

When we speak about the national minimum age of 21 years, we know it requires a bill to be passed in Congress. This is the old way of manipulating people by showing them a trick. The age leniency is just a cover to hide many other restrictions which will be passed in the Congress.

What Trump said gave hope to the vaping industry, regarding saving the jobs as it was the only positive ever spoken from the side of the Government. Still one cannot trust them as it has been very complicated and anything can happen at any moment.

Hence the people should be ready to show what power they carry and assemble to show the White House what they are actually facing. If the FDA does not restrain full flavor ban then the entire country should come together to show the power of the people.