Donald Trump's concerns about the black market could be crucial for US vejp companies. This became clear this weekend after representatives of e-cigarette companies and other organisations debated the issue of flavoured e-juice with the President at the White House.
The purpose of the meeting was to allow all interests to be heard in view of the upcoming regulation of flavoured e-juice, said Donald Trump.
"Many opinions and voices must be heard in this debate. We need to protect our children from harm, but at the same time we need to consider the jobs the industry creates." said Donald Trump
The question of a ban on flavoured e-juice has been in the news for two months, when the president announced that the administration was working on a proposal to "clear the market" of flavours that could attract young people to use e-cigarettes.
Several health groups, which traditionally support other forms of smoking cessation methods, applauded the statement. Other more liberal health commentators pointed to the risk of vejpers returning to cigarettes or obtaining the products on the black market instead. On 4 November thousands of vejpers demonstrated, activists and industry organisations outside the White House for the right to quit smoking on their own terms.
"A flavour ban would force the majority of the country's 13500 smaller vejp shops to close. Nearly 150,000 jobs would be lost." said Tony Abboud from the Vaping Technology Association, VTA to the President during the meeting.
VTA published a recent report who predicted the consequences of a flavour ban for their members, the SMEs that are at the heart of the growing e-cigarette market at local level. According to the VTA, local vejp shoppers make up over half of the market. The e-juices are their main product and varied flavours, in addition to menthol and tobacco flavours, account for over 90% of sales.
"No company can afford to lose 90 per cent of its sales," Abboud told President Trump.
However, the report was challenged by some commentators who argued that adult smokers really didn't need to have anything other than tobacco and menthol flavours in their vejpdon.
"A flavour ban would certainly not hurt adult smokers who want to quit," said Senator Mitt Romney, a statement that caused the comments section of the CNN-broadcast debate to explode.
One of the largest vejp companies in the US, JUUL, which is considered responsible for a very large proportion of sales to young people, has previously backed away from the debate by removing most of the flavours from its range. However, this has not reduced sales. JUUL's closed system has a nicotine content of 50mg/ml and the company admitted that sales have actually increased, even without flavours.
This surprised Mr Trump.
Greg Conley representing the American Vaping Association, offered an alternative explanation for youth 1TP9 behaviour.
"JUUL has tripled its sales. It is not the flavours that are the point, but the high nicotine content of the products", said Greg Conley.
The American Vaping Association and the VTA have proposed more liberal legislation, with higher age limits, restriction of nicotine strengths in general trade and tough rules on marketing. The proposal was presented to Mr Trump after the meeting.
Donald Trump said that a higher age limit is highly likely in the near future.
He also repeatedly asked representatives of the pro-ban side if they saw any solution other than a pure ban on flavours. Of the groups participating in the debate, the answer was no.
"But bans don't solve problems, we've seen that before, for example with alcohol," the president said. "If people want something and it is not available on the market, they will get it anyway. If vejp companies are not allowed to sell controlled and safe, flavoured products, other uncontrolled and dangerous products will certainly appear on the street corners instead. That's what worries me, and has haunted me throughout this process" said Donald Trump.
After the debate, representatives of industry organisations noted that the meeting with the President had exceeded expectations.
"He is committed to the issue now. It is clear that the President does not want a ban, but a more sustainable solution. And the only thing the opponents have to offer is really just a ban, not a compromise. I hope he sees that we, the industry, are looking for a solution that does two things: a regulatory framework that ensures safe products under reasonable conditions but at the same time keeps the products away from young people," VTA's Tony Abboud told the media channel. Regulator Watch after the meeting.
|Vejpning interested Donald Trump.