Durbin Statement On Trump Administration Delay Of E-Cigarette Flavor Ban

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) today released the following statement after it was reported that President Donald Trump is reversing course on a planned e-cigarette flavor ban.  For years, e-cigarette use among children has skyrocketed nationwide, leading the Trump Administration to finally announce—on September 11, 2019—that it would soon ban all non-tobacco e-cigarette flavors “within weeks.”  Now, more than two months later, it appears that President Trump is planning to cave to lobbying pressure from Big Tobacco and Big Vape, breaking his promise to protect our nation’s children from a lifetime of nicotine addiction.

“Remember when the President and the First Lady announced from the Oval Office that they would take dramatic steps to end the epidemic of children vaping?  It looks like that promise is going up in smoke.  The vaping industry’s lobbying efforts have swayed this President’s decision making, and sadly our kids will pay the price in addiction and lung damage.  While President Trump’s dangerous capitulation to Big Tobacco and Big Vape will further fuel the youth vaping epidemic, our next FDA Commissioner must protect our nation’s children from this public health epidemic,” Durbin said.  

Five million children are now vaping, including one in four high school students—an increase of 135 percent over the past two years alone.  Between 2017 and 2018, America saw a 78 percent increase in the number of high-school children using e-cigarettes, and a 48 percent increase in the number of middle-school children using these addictive and dangerous products. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 2,172 people have been sickened by vaping related illnesses, with 42 deaths reported—including four in Illinois.  The illnesses have spread across 49 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

In March, Durbin, along with Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), and U.S. Representatives Diana DeGette (D-CO-01) and Jamie Raskin (D-MD-08), reintroduced bipartisan, bicameral legislation to crack down on kid-friendly flavorings in highly-addictive e-cigarettes and cigars.  The Stopping Appealing Flavors in E-Cigarettes for Kids (SAFE Kids) Act will place strong restrictions on e-cigarette flavorings and ban cigar flavorings altogether.

In September, Durbin, along with Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), urged FDA to immediately remove all pod- and cartridge-based e-cigarettes from the market, unless or until they can prove that they benefit the public health.