Diary

Trump gets no credit for effectively addressing the teen vaping epidemic 

(AP Photo/Frank Franklin II, File)

This time last year, the teen vaping epidemic was making headlines as one of the biggest public health crises of this generation. To face this crisis head on, not only did President Donald Trump pass a sweeping flavor e-cigarette ban and increase enforcement against e-vapor companies selling these elicit flavors and marketing towards minors, but he also signed into law federal “Tobacco 21” legislation that increased the legal age of purchasing tobacco products. And early results, particularly the National Youth Tobacco Survey, show that these efforts are effectively decreasing the rate of teen vaping.

Despite what should be considered a historic achievement, unsurprisingly, we have seen little coverage by the mainstream media. President Trump and his administration took unprecedented action to address the teen vaping epidemic, it’s working, and he and his team deserve acknowledgement for a public health achievement that will undoubtedly save lives.

In September of last year, President Trump rolled out a plan to ban most flavored e-cigarette products, given that teens have reported being attracted to the fruity flavored vapor products that were available. A few months later, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) instituted a nationwide ban on many flavored e-cigarette products.

The FDA has also aggressively prioritized enforcement against unauthorized flavored e-cigarette products that appeal to kids, like fruit and mint flavors. The FDA has issued warning letters and even citations to companies that have flaunted federal regulations against targeting minors. Most recently, the FDA has cracked down on disposable e-cigarettes like Puff Bars, demanding that they remove their youth-appealing e-liquid products from the market.

In November 2019, President Trump held a first of its kind roundtable at the White House, where he brought together public health officials, elected officials, and key White House staff to discuss the teen vaping epidemic. At the time, President Trump issued his support for increasing the legal age of purchasing e-cigarette products to 21.

Just one month later, President Trump signed federal tobacco 21 legislation into law, increasing the legal age to purchase tobacco products nationwide for the first time in 40 years. This transformative legislation is one of the single most important public health policies to pass in the past decade, but was given little attention by many in the mainstream media.

Despite the media’s lack of attention on this issue, and the lack of credit given to this administration, it has led to an important and beneficial change.

The 2020 National Youth Tobacco Survey (NYTS) showed 1.8 million fewer U.S. youth are using e-cigarettes compared to last year. The FDA conducts the NYTS with the Center for Disease Control (CDC) with the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and is a survey of middle and high school students that focuses on tobacco use. And while recent surveys have shown record low use of traditional tobacco products by teens, the use of e-cigarettes has been rising rapidly over the past few years. This dramatic decrease in teen vaping shows that all of President Trump’s efforts are paying off, and we can expect to see a continued decrease in teen vaping as the FDA continues their aggressive enforcement efforts.

President Trump and his administration have reversed one of the most dangerous public health trends of our time, and deserves the credit for this historic achievement. Unfortunately, we can expect that the mainstream media will continue to ignore this positive development, like they do all of President Trump’s successes.

Ted Alexander is a member of the North Carolina State Senate.