Clinton or Trump Should Support Vaping; Here’s Why
In early 2016, Grover Norquist, who started Americans for Tax Reform, famously told the Huffington Post that the upcoming Presidential election “is going to be determined by the vaping community.” As November gets ever closer, it’s worth taking a look at Norquist’s prediction, and the political landscape of vaping in general. Since e-cigarettes are a very polarizing topic, it’s unsurprising that vapers’ rights are a highly partisan issue. What is surprising to a lot of vapers is the fact that left-leaning politicians are largely opposed to vaping, while many of these same politicians simultaneously encourage the legalization of marijuana. There’s a large faction of the vaping community that identifies as liberal, but the most outspoken political advocates of vaping have been Republican. How will this affect the general election, and how will politics affect the future of vaping, especially now that the FDA has recently published its Deeming Regulations?
Just before the Deeming Regulations were finalized, Representatives Tom Cole (R) and Sanford Bishop (D) introduced a pro-vaping amendment to the House Appropriations Bill. Yes, you read that right: Cole is a Republican and Bishop is a Democrat. This was one of the first bits of e-cigarette legislation that had bipartisan support. The amendment, which passed in the House, was introduced to change the grandfather date of tobacco products to match the date of the deeming regulations instead of it affecting all products that came on the market after February 15, 2007.
This amendment is noteworthy because it might impact the Deeming Regs, and also because most of the vocal opponents to vaping are Democrats. In California, Democratic Governor Jerry Brown raised the legal age to purchase e-cigarettes to 21. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, a Democrat, helped initiate legislation that would follow suit. Emanuel also raised the tax on e-liquids to more than $17 per 30ml bottle in January, and tacked on an additional tax of 20 cents per milliliter in May. Most Democrats are staunchly anti-smoking, as was evidenced by Ted Kennedy’s support of the Tobacco Control Act. The confounding point is this: the Tobacco Control Act is what put the 2007 grandfather date into effect; it’s what’s causing the issue behind these FDA Deeming Regulations and e-cigs. It also protected Big Tobacco by ensuring that virtually no new or competing products could enter the market. This leads one to wonder whether Democrats are really interested in the health of the general public, or the health of the tobacco industry. High-profile Democrats would benefit from taking the view of London’s Royal College of Physicians and viewing vaping as a tool to keep people off of cigarettes.
Despite the fact that e-cigarettes have become a hot-button issue, none of the candidates in the Presidential race has made a statement about the FDA Deeming Regulations, or where they personally stand on the subject of vaping. As Norquist, predicted, this could be a game-changer in the upcoming election. Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump still have a fairly high negativity rating with voters, many of whom say they see choosing between them as picking the lesser of two evils. Unfortunately, chances are that Hillary is on the side of Big Tobacco, and we all know where Trump’s running mate, Mike Pence, stands. Just take a look at the state of vaping in Indiana, where Pence was governor.
It would behoove any of the candidates, whether Democrat or Republican, to take a stance against the FDA Deeming Regulations. If they did, it’s likely that many undecided voting vapers would make up their minds. There’s more at stake here than political power; there are billions of lives at stake. A candidate who puts their political agenda aside (as Cole and Bishop did) and sees the logic in supporting vaping as a possible tobacco cessation tool, would no doubt win the support of legions of vapers. More importantly, they would ensure that these lives do not fall back into the greedy grasp of Big Tobacco. Do you think Trump or Clinton will support vaping? Let us know in the comments!