What Does Trump’s Presidency Mean For Vaping?

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So as everyone knows by now, Trump will be the 45th president of the United States and now we can hypothesize what his presidency might mean for vaping.

Let me start by saying that I’m by no means an expert in politics, but I want to talk about my own thoughts on what the Trump presidency might mean for vaping.

I’m trying to look at this from every angle, not just the positives. You might disagree with me, whether you voted for Trump or not.

Republican President, House, and Senate

Donald Trump is a Republican and now the house and senate are also controlled by Republicans. A Republican house and senate is likely to pass Trump’s initiatives easily, as well as other Republican focused initiatives beyond what Trump focuses on. Republicans tend to lean towards fewer regulations and lower taxes, both of which are good for the vape industry, but our government currently sees vaping as bad as smoking. If these chambers decide to stick with our country’s general thoughts of vaping being as bad as smoking, that would be bad.

Trump has also been eyeing billionaires and businessman for his cabinet, which could be a good thing for vaping, UNLESS one of those people are pro-tobacco, ie, Big Tobacco.

Science Denial

Trump denies climate change despite science proving global warming. Trump believes there’s a link between vaccines and autism, although that theory has been discredited. Whether or not you believe he’s right, it’s a fact that he’s denying science.

This could be a good thing for vapers. Even if doctors here in the states agree that vaping is as bad as smoking, Trump might believe differently. Or he might disagree with the research that shows that vaping is safer than smoking, although science deniers tend to side with the minority, which is good for us.

A lot of the people that Trump is considering for his cabinet are also science deniers. For example Ben Carson, who believes the pyramids of Egypt were used to store grain, rather than being used as tombs.

Anyway, this could be good for the vape industry.

Regulations

One of Trump’s frequent promises while running for president is that he would “eliminate all needless and job-killing regulations now on the books.”

He never went into specifics about what regulations these might be, but he did say he would make three key actions.

He would:

  • Put a freeze on any new federal regulation proposals
  • Require regulators to rank regulations and cut the least important ones
  • Replace the leaders of some federal agencies.

Ok, so a freeze on new federal regulations. It’s obvious to us as vapers that the FDA’s regulations is costing jobs and forcing vape shops out of business, but when Trump talked about job-killing regulations, he mainly talked about regulations put in place by the Environmental Protection Agency and regulations against banks. These are big endeavors and I worry that the FDA’s regulations against electronic cigarettes is too small for him to worry about. Trump also mentioned that he wants to focus on regulations that don’t improve public safety. Unfortunately, most of the general public mistakenly believes that vaping is the same as smoking. So who knows which side he’ll take on it.

Now onto his statement of ranking regulations and cutting the least important ones. This could be good or bad. We as vapers feel that the FDA’s tobacco deeming regulations on e-cigs is not an important regulation and it should be cut. The problem though is that most of our country’s medical experts and health organizations believe vaping is no better than smoking. Will Trump side with the minority or the majority on this one?

And lastly, replacing the leaders of some federal agencies. This could be a big win for the vaping industry because the current FDA commissioner is Robert Califf, who is now not likely to remain in his position. Robert Califf has a history of being anti-vaping and has been noted to have controversial ties with pharmaceutical companies who make nicotine replacement products, which may have heavily influenced the regulations against electronic cigarettes.

Only once has a commissioner remained in their position after a new president took office and people are already saying that Califf is expected to submit his resignation.

Replacing Dr. Califf could be great for the vaping industry or we might get someone just like him. But whoever we get probably won’t be any worse.

Another position we’d like to see changed is the director of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products, which is filled by Mitch Zeller. Zeller has played a large role in the passing of the deeming regulations that classify e-cigs as a tobacco product. Like Califf, it’s hard to say if the FDA’s views would change on vaping with someone else in charge, but it could be a change for the better, which is all we can hope for.

Another thing to consider is that some people believe that the FDA might be immediately de-funded and will lack the resources to further regulate or police their own regulations, which would include the vaping regulations.

Overall, it looks favorable for the vaping industry.

Trump’s VP, Mike Pence

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Pence practically banned vaping in Indiana when he signed House Bill 1432 as governor of the state. This bill did not allow the sale of e-liquid that was not approved by the state’s Alcohol Tobacco Commission. It also required that all e-juice sold in the state needed to work with only one independent security firm, who had the choice to pick who they wanted to work with. That firm only chose seven manufacturers, basically. These strict regulations and the lack of choice to consumers resulted in many vape businesses in Indiana being forced to close.

Pence has also written an op-ed piece in 2000 that said that smoking doesn’t kill people, although what many people don’t mention is that Pence had more to say. He further stated that his beliefs come from the fact that 2 out of 3 smokers do not die from smoking. He also said that smoking is not healthy and that smokers should quit. His stance did not appear to be in support of smoking, but rather against the government’s interference in preventing adults to smoke if they want to.

But to even say that smoking doesn’t kill is a strange thing to say. It just doesn’t make sense to say it, even in the context that he said it in.

While in Indiana, he also cut funding for Tobacco Prevention and Cessation in Indiana. That state has the seventh highest smoking rate in the nation, nearly double the national average of pregnant women smokers, and the lowest tobacco taxes of any state.

Many people believe that Big Tobacco has their hands deep in his pockets and reports say that he has received more than $100,000 from the tobacco industry during his political career.

As you’re probably aware, Big Tobacco companies are major players in the electronic cigarette market now, so why would they want to regulate vaping? Well, the tobacco industry makes a lot more money from combustible tobacco than from e-cigs. Also, the tobacco industry focuses mainly on cigalikes and closed-tank systems. Regulations against refillable tank systems, e-juice, and advanced devices would be more profitable for tobacco while killing off their smaller competition. If they can influence regulations in these areas, they probably will and Pence might be willing to do Big Tobacco’s bidding.

Many people in the vape community are assuming that Pence will no longer play a major role as a vice president, in the belief that VP’s are basically there only for the sole reason of taking over if something happens to the president.

But that’s not true at all.

While it might seem like the VP does nothing since we never see them in the news, they actually do many things. Vice President Biden, for example, was in charge of overseeing the economic stimulus act, he oversaw the U.S. policy toward Iraq, and he regularly negotiated with Republicans to implement legislation such as the Tax Relief, the Budget Control Act, and the Job Creation Act.

It might seem like Biden wasn’t doing anything, but he was. And Pence will too.

Not only that, Trump has already stated that he will be delegating domestic and foreign policy to Pence. A president can give their vice president as much power as they want and a good example of that is Dick Cheney and George Bush.

Mike Pence is the President of the senate and can cast a tie-breaking vote. He can also influence legislation.

So is Pence good for vaping? It doesn’t look like it.

Potential Price Increases

Trump has stated that he would double the tariffs on products from China. A large amount of products that we use in the United States comes from China, such as electronics.

We also get a lot of other things from China, like textiles, metals, plastics, rubber, and chemical products. Many of these things are components used in vape products.

I’ve heard arguments that these tariffs would either force people to buy American-made products or force American manufacturers to be more competitive.

From what I’ve read, some of our country’s smartest economists say that’s just not how it works. This is because there are very few alternative suppliers for many of the products that we use in the U.S., for example in regards to vaping; circuit boards, switches, and wiring.

What this could mean is that our choice might not be either a Chinese product or an American product. Our only option could be paying either a higher price for a Chinese product or not buying one at all, because that product won’t exist anywhere else.

These costs will very likely pass on to the consumer, so this tariff could actually make vaping a lot more expensive.

Will Trump Do What He Said He Would?

Most people are generalizing that since Trump is a republican that he will have republican views on issues, which is most likely to benefit the vape industry. This might be true.

But we should also consider that prior to Trump running for president, he was NOT a right-wing republican. Trump has actually supported many of the initiatives that Hillary Clinton supports, he has donated to Hillary Clinton’s campaigns since 2002, and he’s donated to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

And if you’ve been paying attention to the news since the election, Trump has already changed his views on some of the key positions that likely got him elected, such as his views on healthcare.

Basically what I’m trying to say is that Trump is very unpredictable right now and we have no idea what’s going to happen, but if Trump does what he said he would do while on the campaign trail, things look mostly favorable for the vaping industry.

Image Attribution:

  • By Max Goldberg from USA (Trump Cedar Rapids) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
  • By Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America (Mike Pence) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

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