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'We vape. We vote': Pro-vaping groups protest flavor ban

Nick Rose

E-cigarette users converged upon Washington D.C. on Saturday to deliver a simple message to U.S. lawmakers: They vape and they vote. The vaping activists traveled from across the country, some from key swing states, to protest a proposed ban on flavored e-cigarette products which, they say, could hurt President Trump’s chances at winning re-election in 2020.

“[Polling data] does strongly indicate that among the 14 million adults who use vaping products, a large number of them could be driven to be single issue voters on the issue of continued availability of flavors,” says Greg Conley, president of the American Vaping Association. “This is especially true when you're talking about the 3 to 5 million American adults who have not just gotten off smoking but they credit vaping with helping them quit.”

Vape consumer advocate groups and vape storeowners around the country hold a rally outside of the White House to protest the proposed vaping flavor ban in Washington DC on November 9, 2019. (Photo by Jose Luis Magana / AFP) (Photo by JOSE LUIS MAGANA/AFP via Getty Images)

The White House announced in September that it would draft new legislation to regulate the sale of e-cigarettes to young people. Proponents argue that vaping has caused a significant rise in teenage nicotine addiction since it was first introduced back in 2007. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), e-cigarette use among U.S. middle school and high school students increased by 1.5 million between 2017 and 2018. And the U.S. Surgeon General has called it “an epidemic among our nation’s young people.”

On Monday, Trump announced he would meet with representatives from both sides of the issue as he considers the proposed ban on vaping products.

THC vs. nicotine vaping

Last week, the CDC delivered a breakthrough in its investigation into a mysterious vaping illness which, so far, has caused more than 2,000 cases of lung injury in the U.S. alone. According to CDC officials, Vitamin E acetate, used as an additive in black market THC products, was discovered to be the main culprit behind the reported lung injuries.

Conley said there’s a big difference between THC and nicotine vaping products.

“The Royal College of Physicians, Public Health England, Cancer Research UK, numerous other public-health organizations have estimated nicotine vaping, not THC-filled cartridges sold by drug dealers, to be at least 95% less hazardous than smoking,” said Conley, who quit smoking only after using a watermelon-flavored vaping product. “The FDA has stated that smokers who switch to vaping benefit their health, as has the American Cancer Society.”

Nick Rose is a producer for Yahoo Finance.

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