Durbin To Trump: You Should Care More About Children Than Lobbying Pressure From Big Vape

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) today in a speech on the Senate floor slammed President Donald Trump for seemingly reversing course on a planned e-cigarette flavor ban.  Durbin called out the President for caving to lobbying pressure from Big Tobacco and Big Vape, breaking his promise to protect our nation’s children from a lifetime of nicotine addiction. 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, no ban has been put in place.

“We know who this President is hearing from. He's hearing from JUUL, the company primarily responsible for today's youth vaping epidemic. He's hearing from Altria, the Big Tobacco company that just bought a major stake in JUUL. And he's hearing from the Vaping Technology Association, a lobbying organization which represents vaping shops nationwide,” Durbin said. “Along with families nationwide, I'm hoping that the President cares more about children than he does about the lobbying pressure from Big Tobacco and Big Vape companies...For goodness sakes, Mr. President, stick with your promise of September 11.”

Video of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor are available here.

Audio of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor is available here.

Footage of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor is available here for TV Stations.

Today, Durbin sent a letter to President Trump slamming his Administration for breaking its promise on an e-cigarette flavor ban.

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.  Today, nearly 30 percent of school-aged children are vaping, compared with less than four percent of adults in the United States.

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.