In a move designed to discourage vaping among teens, the Trump administration has officially banned fruit, candy, mint, and other sweet dessert flavors, according to The Associated Press on Thursday. However, and this is major, there are two exemptions — designed directly to benefit key vaping industry giants like Juul Labs — and those apply to menthol and tobacco-flavored e-cigarettes for adults.
It's a noticeably different message from the Trump administration, as it previously announced that it would ban all vaping flavors from e-cigarettes, including menthol. And this unmistakable change in approach is already angering anti-tobacco groups.
Appeasing both customers and businesses — In December, the Health Services Secretary Alex Azar criticized underage vaping and officially stated, "We will not stand idly by as this crisis among America’s youth grows and evolves, and we will continue monitoring the situation and take further actions as necessary." It was during that month that Trump signed a law requiring the legal minimum age for buying tobacco and vaping equipment to be between 18 to 21 across the United States.
With this flavor ban, it looks like the president is attempting to keep two opposing teams — those justifiably worried about this popular pastime among teens and industry players — happy.
What does Trump say? — Just two days before the announcement, Trump made that clear while talking to the media. "We have to protect our families,” he said, according to AP. “At the same time,” he then added, “it's a big industry. We want to protect this industry." But while he may be try appeasing both sides, critics strongly disapprove of the move.
In an official statement, per AP, Matthew Myers, who works with the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, implored for a total elimination, be it menthol or cotton candy. “Only the elimination of all flavored e-cigarettes,” Myers stated, “can end the worsening youth e-cigarette epidemic and stop e-cigarette companies from luring and addicting kids with flavored products.”