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February 19, 2020 4 Comments

The State of Vape: Where Do The Candidates Stand?

As we continue through the election season, we often wonder where the candidates stand on vaping. While some have not commented much on the issue, others have expressed various opinions on the topic. In this edition of the State of Vape, we talk about where each candidate stands on vaping and their proposals. As of this writing, all of the below candidates are running for president in 2020.

DISCLAIMER: eJuices.com does not endorse or support any candidate for political office. This blog post is for informational purposes that are based upon statements that have been reported by the news and media. The individual positions provided in this blog post may change over time. All opinions provided herein are the opinions of the author. We always encourage you to take action to preserve your rights to vape.

Joe Biden Stance on Vaping

Joe Biden

Previous political experience: former Vice President (2009-2017), former Senator from Delaware (1973-2009)

Joe Biden is one of the most prominent candidates running for president in 2020. He was Barack Obama’s vice-president from 2009 to 2017. Various sources suggest that Biden is hostile to the vaping industry. In an Iowa campaign speech in January 2020, Biden said, “If the science has demonstrated is doing great damage then I don’t care what it does to a small business person who’s selling this stuff. If it is damaging lungs, if it’s causing the kind of damage that is said and that studies not been fully done yet. If it turns out that it is that, I would eliminate it.”

E-cigarette industry giant Juul made various donations to Democratic politicians down the ticket, including to Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-LA), who is the co-chairman of Biden’s campaign. While Juul has not donated to Biden directly and given his hostile approach to small businesses that sell and manufacture vape products, Biden’s proposal to halt the sale of vaping products until further notice is also something the industry should be concerned about.

Friendly to the industry? Possibly not. Biden’s rhetoric suggests that he may implement more hostile anti-vape regulations than those already in place in several states. While we believe he could change his stance as he learns more about the industry, he could be another anti-vape legislator in the vein of Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), one of vaping’s biggest opponents in the Senate.

Michael Bloomberg Stance on Vaping

Michael Bloomberg

Previous political experience: Mayor of New York City (2002-2013)

Michael Bloomberg, if elected, would be the richest individual to ever be elected to the presidency, even surpassing current president Donald Trump. His net worth is currently estimated to be around $62 billion. Bloomberg has donated $1 billion to anti-tobacco efforts and has committed an additional $160 million to fight the “youth e-cigarette epidemic.” Bloomberg has proposed a total flavor ban and would raise taxes on traditional cigarettes if he wins the election.

Bloomberg has taken his stance a step further, vowing to require health insurance companies to cover counseling and smoking cessation medicines without copays and limits on treatment. Bloomberg has also proposed limiting nicotine in traditional cigarettes and e-cigarettes to “non-addictive levels” although he has not clarified what that limit would be.

Friendly to the industry? No. The amount of money Bloomberg has poured into fighting the vaping industry, as well as his conflation of vaping products with traditional tobacco products, means he is firmly dedicated to battling against the industry. His track record of tobacco control indicates that he is likely to apply the same tactics to vaping products.

Pete Buttigieg Stance on Vaping

Pete Buttigieg

Previous political experience: Mayor of South Bend, Indiana (2012-2020)

Former South Bend mayor Pete Buttigieg may not have said much on vaping, but when he spoke on it in an Iowa town hall, he said, “What we are seeing is e-cigarettes being marketed and sold to young people despite companies telling us otherwise. The way this was marketed and sold to this country is that it can be used for harm reduction...I believe the burden has to be on companies to demonstrate that they are not causing harm rather than on regulators to demonstrate that they are. This means taking action on these flavored e-cigarette products that are clearly targeted towards children and making sure that we have a much higher bar for them demonstrating that they’re not causing harm because we’re seeing all these horrifying cases of people coming to harm because they use this product.”

The CDC, FDA, and many other state health agencies have now confirmed that black market and illicit THC cartridges, many containing vitamin E acetate, have been the primary cause of the lung injuries and deaths that were misattributed to vaping. eJuices.com and other reputable vape retailers do NOT sell THC products. We recommend that you buy your vape products from reputable retailers such as eJuices.com.

Friendly to the industry? No. Buttigieg’s stances on vape are misinformed at best and hostile at worst. He has placed the burden on the industry to prove that vape products are a legitimate form of harm reduction. What makes us believe he is not friendly to the industry is that he refuses to admit that there is harm reduction potential in vaping products. Many adults have reported success in harm reduction with flavored vape products.

Tulsi Gabbard Stance on Vaping

Tulsi Gabbard

Previous political experience: U.S. Representative, 2nd District of Hawaii (2013-present)

Tulsi Gabbard has been the representative for Hawaii’s 2nd district since 2013 and has remained relatively quiet on vaping. She is pro-marijuana legalization, which means that she could be against vaping entirely. A Reddit poster tried to get her views on vaping back in 2016, but she has not said anything either way on the issue. She has a track record of challenging the Democratic Party line on some issues. As the election season goes on, it will be interesting to hear her views on vaping.

Friendly to the industry? As of this writing, we aren’t sure. We do know she is friendly to the marijuana industry, but it is unclear whether that stance will carry over to the vaping industry.

Amy Klobuchar Stance on Vaping

Amy Klobuchar

Previous political experience: Senator from Minnesota (2007-present)

Amy Klobuchar was one of the signatories to a letter to former FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb to curb youth vaping back in 2018. In an interview with the New York Times, she favored the status quo. “I support the moratorium that’s in place right now,” she said. However, this contradicts a prior statement she released on her Senate website. “The President’s decision not to move forward on action to ban flavored e-cigarettes is yet another example of how his administration prioritizes corporate interests over people,” she said in November 2019.

While she could potentially support a flavor ban, she has not said much more about the vaping industry outside of that. She is not one of the candidates who received money from Juul, who donated heavily to 2020 Democratic candidates.

Friendly to the industry? Possibly not. While it is possible she could change her stance, it seems that as of this writing, she will stand with her Democratic colleagues to support some type of flavor ban.

Bernie Sanders Stance on Vaping

Bernie Sanders

Previous political experience: Senator from Vermont (2007-present), U.S. Representative from Vermont (1991-2007), Mayor of Burlington, Vermont (1981-1989)

While Bernie Sanders has been mum on the issue of vaping throughout his campaign, he did raise alarms when he called for a shutdown of the vaping industry during a January 2020 town hall in Iowa. Jeff Weaver, a longtime adviser to Sanders himself and one of the leading figures of the Sanders campaign, clarified that Sanders was “certainly not talking about shutting down the industry tomorrow.”

Sanders took a more conciliatory stance towards the vaping industry, echoing the thinking of current FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn, saying he would like to study the industry more and introduce regulation that is in line with the current science and evidence of vaping. However, aside from a few remarks, we are unsure of Sanders’ stance on vaping.

Friendly to the industry? Unknown. Based on Sanders’ drastic position changes from “shutting down” the whole industry to needing more information makes identification of his real position on the vaping industry impossible.

Tom Steyer Stance on Vaping

Tom Steyer

Previous political experience: None

Tom Steyer, much like his potential Republican opponent Donald Trump, seeks to follow in his footsteps and seek the presidency despite not having any previous political experience. He shares a couple of traits with the current president: he is also a billionaire who was born in New York City. Steyer’s stances on tobacco products have a more personal effect on him: his mother smoked three packs a day and eventually died of lung cancer.

Steyer, however, has supported taxes on e-cigarettes and other vaping products. He is the co-chairman of the Save Lives Coalition. When asked about his support of the proposed tax in California, Steyer said, “This initiative aims to save lives and stop teens from ever picking up the deadly tobacco habit in the first place.” While supporting harm reduction methods such as vaping could have saved lives such as Steyer’s mother’s, Steyer himself seems to be on the fence. He said in the same New York Times interview that included other potential 2020 candidates about vaping, “21-year-olds are fully formed adults and make their own decisions.”

Friendly to the industry? Unsure, namely because of his conflicting stances on vaping. He has supported T21, which was also supported by much of the vaping industry, but he does not support vaping as a harm reduction method. Hopefully, more research into the industry might change or clarify his stances.

Donald Trump Stance on Vaping

Donald Trump

Previous political experience: 45th President of the United States (2017-present)

Donald Trump, the 45th and current President of the United States, has shifted positions on vaping since he took office in January 2017, and more recently in 2019 and even during 2020. He first advocated for a total flavor ban before walking it back, even saying he regrets his personal involvement with the issue. Trump now favors removing tobacco products entirely from the jurisdiction of the FDA and spinning it off into an entirely new agency under the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

Several states have implemented flavor bans during the Trump administration, and others have been proposed. While some states have overturned flavor bans, others remain in effect, and many localities have implemented flavor bans or proposed other forms of regulation. The uncertainty in the industry may partially be blamed on Trump’s unwillingness to take decisive action either way.

Friendly to the industry? Unknown. President Trump’s views on vaping have evolved since September of 2019, and we give him credit for that. However, we must not forget that the PMTA deadline, on May 12, 2020, will be occurring under his watch. Any actions he takes or fails to take will reflect on his legacy amongst vapers and probably impact his chances for re-election.

Elizabeth Warren

Previous political experience: Senator from Massachusetts (2013-present)

Elizabeth Warren represents Massachusetts, the state that was at the epicenter of the panic surrounding the industry, and one of the first states to implement a flavor ban before it was challenged in the courts. In 2019, Warren issued a press release on her stances on vaping. She specifically called out Juul and Altria for “fueling the youth vaping epidemic” as well as asked various government organizations such as the FDA, HHS, and CDC to address the health impacts of e-cigarette products.

Warren did not recommend any flavor bans or additional regulations on the industry, but also did not mention the true culprits of the lung injuries and deaths: vitamin E acetate and illicit THC products. While she seems to be going in the right direction regarding the vaping industry, it is important that she also address illicit THC products and vitamin E acetate that were all linked to the lung injuries and deaths.

Friendly to the industry? Unsure. While she seems to be asking the right questions on the surface, she has not addressed the true causes of the lung injuries and deaths that were erroneously attributed to vaping industry products. Once again, eJuices.com and other reputable sellers do NOT sell THC products. We encourage you to buy from reputable sellers such as eJuices.com.

Thank you for reading this edition of the State of Vape. Who do you support? Who do you think will be most friendly to the vaping industry? Let us know in the comments below.


4 Responses

Jose Alvarez, eJuices.com
Jose Alvarez, eJuices.com

March 13, 2020

Hello Sylvia,

Thank you for reading and commenting on the blog. Candidates’ positions change over time so these stances may be completely different in a month or two, or even a week from now. However, we encourage our readers to keep searching for answers and to inform themselves and others about issues in the vaping industry.

Sylvia
Sylvia

March 03, 2020

My vote is already decided. I believe my candidate doesn’t want small businesses to close? My fear is people will air their own justices, and the harm of people not knowing what they’re adding is frightening.

Victoria Martin
Victoria Martin

February 24, 2020

So all we have are hell no’s and unsures. I think any politicians that would stand FOR vaping are in the small enough minority to be considered unicorns.
The fight is necessary, but exhausting. More disinformation comes out daily despite the CDC coming clean about the THC carts. Locally and nationally, it is on the news almost every freaking day. The general public believes what the media tells them to believe and it feels like we are struggling in quicksand.
No matter the regulations, laws, rules I will continue to vape. I can DIY, build my own coils, use a mech. I will continue to stand up for my rights and I will not hide indoors and do it secretively. So no matter what they do, we will fight. But its no longer an enjoyable fight, and many people are literally fighting for their livelihoods.

Tim W.
Tim W.

February 24, 2020

Which ever candidate wants additional government intrusions into our lives, or business cannot be a positive for any industry.

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