Trump echoes sentiments of reform advocates among prohibition activists
Although vaping has faced an increasingly hostile regulatory landscape and a decrease in positive public perception, there have been many developments recently that give hope to the vaping industry and community. In addition to the Trump administration backing away from a proposed federal ban on flavored vapor products, the president appears to be wholly committing to his change in direction.
During a meeting about vaping featuring both advocates and opponents, the president appears to have acknowledged the failure of prohibitionist policy throughout this country’s history. In response to a question from a prohibition activist, Trump stated that prohibition doesn’t work and that users will simply acquire prohibited items through black market channels instead.
Trump’s statement echoes sentiments long posed by reform advocates, pointing to massive failures in drug policy that more often than not largely work against the public interest. Anti-vaping activists have responded to the remarks with disappointment, stating that flavor bans are the only way to restrict access to teens.
The president’s remarks are a departure from his predecessors, who have long refused to vocally challenge prohibition while in office. While the statement doesn’t mark any official policy shift, it does signal hope to the vaping community and other communities facing prohibitionist policy.
It Doesn’t Work
On November 22nd, during a summit on vaping at the White House featuring both reform advocates and prohibitionist activists, President Trump publicly acknowledged the legacy of failure in prohibitionist policy throughout the country’s history. “When you watch prohibition, when you look at the alcohol, you look at cigarettes, you look at it all, if you don’t give it to them, it’s going to come here illegally,” Trump told the room, “That’s the one problem I can’t seem to forget.”
This statement not only echoes sentiments long-held by reform advocates but appears to be in line with feelings formerly held by the president. When speaking on the war on drugs in the 1990s, the president stated, ‘We’re losing badly the war on drugs, you have to legalize drugs to win that war. You have to take the profit away from these drug czars.”
The president appears to have shifted to a moderate stance on vaping, embracing views held by tobacco control experts such as acknowledging that vaping poses a significantly reduced risk of harm to users compared to smoking. The president also appears to believe this is a topic that should be managed on a state, not federal, level.
This also falls in line with statements priorly made by the president, stating on multiple occasions that states should be allowed to set their own policies on items such as cannabis. “A lot of states are making that decision, but we’re allowing states to make that decision,” Trump said back in August.
Truth About Vaping
While there has been a great deal of misinformation going around surrounding vaping, there is a wealth of peer-reviewed scientific evidence surrounding the efficacy of vaping as a smoking cessation device and reduced-harm alternative to tobacco. One such study published in the Journal of Aerosol Sciences found that vapers have a 57,000 times lower risk of developing cancer compared to smokers.
Of course, many studies are noting the reduced risk of e-cigarettes, such as a landmark study conducted by Public Health England. Researchers for the country’s top public health agency found vaping to be 95% safer than smoking, a figure the agency routinely stands behind.
Not only is vaping a proven reduced-harm alternative to tobacco, but current data shows it may be the greatest tool available to aid in smoking cessation. Researchers from the University of Louisville found vaping to be the most effective smoking cessation device available, even more than going cold-turkey.
Furthermore, there is no evidence of long-term harm or risk to users of vapor products. A report from the National Academy of Sciences that not only found that vaping poses a reduced risk of harm compared to smoking, but that there were no long-term health effects associated with prolonged usage.
The president’s shift in policy and tone regarding prohibition not only signals hope for vaping, but other maligned substances that may offer a myriad of potential benefits such as cannabis. Reform advocates have long pointed out the failure of antiquated prohibitionist policy and the detriment they serve to the public interest and public health.
Prohibition not only criminalizes average law-abiding citizens but removes a thriving industry from the tax base and moves all that revenue into untaxed black market channels. This is without even mentioning the crime and raw devastation that is repeatedly created by prohibitionist policy and attempts to subvert it.
While this is a sign of positive momentum for the often maligned vaping industry, members of the community must not grow complacent as there is still much work to be done in the war against vaping. Polite and informative discourse and sustained civic engagement offer the best hope for helping to carry this positive momentum forward.
How do you feel about the president’s views on prohibition? Do you believe this will lead to effective policy changes? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below, be sure to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to receive all the latest vaping news!
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