- The US Food and Drug Administration recently continued its crackdown on vaping, issuing a ban on flavored e-cigarette pods, excluding tobacco and menthol varieties.
- While the new rule prohibits the sweet and fruity pods popular among young vapers, it still allows for open-tank systems and e-liquids — the preferred choice for a large number of vapers who’ve held rallies protesting their right to vape.
- Vaping activists believe vaping saves lives by curbing cigarette use, and have become spurred into political action over their right to vape.
- A Closer Look, Business Insider’s new weekly show on Facebook Watch, spoke to vapers who are trying to build a bloc of voters that cannot be ignored.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Following the US Food and Drug Administration’s most recent crackdown on flavored e-cigarette pods, vaping activists have a new goal: to become a bloc of voters that cannot be ignored.
FDA officials announced on Thursday it planned to prohibit on the sale of sweet and fruity flavored e-cigarette pods, excluding tobacco and menthol varieties. The new rule would still allow open-tank systems and e-liquids popular among vapers who’ve held dozens of rallies across the country — and even followed President Donald Trump to his Mar-a-Lago resort over the holidays.
It’s the latest in a series of nationwide restrictions on e-cigarettes, which have been linked to more than 2,500 cases of lung injuries or death since June.
But the crackdowns have only spurred vapers into political action — and for many activists, it’s the only thing that matters in the 2020 presidential election.
“A lot of vapers are actually single-issue voters now,” Austin Lawrence, a vaping advocate who’s garnered millions of online followers for his videos of “vape tricks,” told A Closer Look, Business Insider’s new weekly show on Facebook Watch. “It’s good that people are standing up for their right to vape.”
A recent survey commissioned by a pro-vaping group found that 83% of active vapers in battleground states said they were likely to vote based on a candidate’s stance on e-cigarettes.
It also found that vapers in Trump’s base could turn on him over this issue.
Even though the survey had significant sampling problems, multiple reports suggest it influenced the president’s position on the issue.
In many ways, vaping’s growing popularity among teens is the root of the current flavor backlash.
More than 5 million teens vape, according to a national survey released in November. And e-cigarette use among middle and high school students has skyrocketed over the past two years.
About a third listed flavors as one of their reasons for vaping.
A majority of e-cigarette users say they use Juul, which controls about two-thirds of the market.
The company has responded with a series of youth prevention measures in the US. It launched an age-verification system in stores and online, stopped most advertising and closed its social media accounts. The company has also come out in favor of flavor regulations, and currently sells only tobacco and menthol.