Paul Blair

ATR Applauds Governor Ron DeSantis for Vetoing Flavored Vaping Ban

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Posted by Paul Blair on Wednesday, September 9th, 2020, 3:27 PM PERMALINK

In one of the last pieces of legislation sent to Governor Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) during the 2020 legislative session, he was asked to consider Senate Bill 810, a statewide ban on the legal sale of flavored nicotine e-cigarettes and vapor products to adults. At 8PM last night, the governor announced his veto of the legislation, citing both concerns about the risk of adult vapers returning to smoking and the economic consequences of shutting down small businesses across Florida who sell these products to adults looking to make the transition to less harmful alternatives. 

Americans for Tax Reform applauds Governor DeSantis, who is the first governor in the nation to veto legislation that would ban flavored nicotine e-cigarettes for adults. 

In his veto transmission letter, Gov. DeSantis explained: 

"This legislation would almost assuredly lead more people to resume smoking cigarettes, and it would drive others to the hazardous black market. The latter consequence is especially significant because the much-publicized cases of lung injury associated with vaping in recent years have been traced to illegal, or black market, vape cartridges containing THC, not to the type of legal vaping products that this bill would abolish. 

Reducing the use of all nicotine-related products, including vaping, among our youth is an important goal, but this will not be achieved by eliminating legal products for adults and by devastating the small businesses who provide these adults with reduced risk alternatives to cigarettes.

For these reasons, I hearby veto SB810." 

ATR urged the governor to veto this legislation earlier this year, explaining:

"In Florida alone, the nicotine vapor industry employs more than 10,000 Floridians. A ban on flavored products would kill over 4,500 jobs, eliminate $186.6 million in employee wages, and reduce economic output by $605.6 million, according to an analysis conducted by John Dunham & Associates.

...Not only are e-cigarettes twice as effective at helping smokers quit as traditional nicotine replacement therapies like the nicotine patch or lozenge, but flavored vapor products are essential in the quit journey of so many adult smokers. Limiting adult choices to only those products that may remind them of the flavor of cigarettes will do little to transition them to reduced risk alternatives. We know that adults not only like flavors but need them to successfully quit, evidence found in national adult preference surveys like those published in the journal Harm Reduction, which found that over 80% of adults prefer flavored vapor products over traditional tobacco or menthol ones. For adult smokers who can begin to make the switch, the evidence suggests that it’s a significant improvement for one’s health. In fact, the Royal College of Physicians and Public Health England has concluded that vaping is at least 95% less harmful than smoking cigarettes." 

Americans for Tax Reform has long argued that the importance of flavored e-cigarettes for adults looking to quit smoking isn't simply about more choices but a matter of life and death. The governor's understanding that both lives and jobs are on the line underscores his embrace of tobacco harm reduction, even going against the grain of the prohibition voices within his own party. For the more than 1.3 million adult vapers in Florida, this may prove to be one of the most consequential and positive public health moves of the DeSantis administration to date.

[Testimonials from adults who rely on flavored vapes, in order to quit and stay off cigarettes]

More governors should follow the lead of DeSantis, who listened to the concerns of entrepreneurs, passionate adult vapers, and credible academics who have examined the science around the benefit of smokers making the switch to nicotine e-cigarettes. 

Photo Credit: GoFishDigital, Flickr

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California’s Assault Against Ride-Sharing Services Shows Why National Preemption Necessary to Save the Gig Economy

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Posted by Paul Blair on Wednesday, August 19th, 2020, 3:23 PM PERMALINK

The ongoing effort to crush digital platform-based transportation services recently got a boost from a California judge who held that companies like Uber and Lyft must immediately reclassify all of their drivers as employees. The ruling comes as a result of trial lawyers and California’s Attorney General bringing a lawsuit against the companies based on the requirements of Assembly Bill 5. This controversial legislation restricts the nature of independent contracting and freelance work across California. Without a successful appeal, both Uber and Lyft have said that they will pull out of the state of California by the end of this week due to the burdensome requirements and unaffordable costs of changing their entire business model overnight.

The very real possibility that hundreds of thousands of California drivers and millions of California commuters will no longer have access to ride-sharing applications to generate income or rides demonstrates the need for federal workforce protections. Avoiding a patchwork of state burdens and restrictions on entrepreneurship can only be achieved through clarity at a national level. While it’s rare that Washington can be pointed to as having any workable solution to state issues, in the case of Big Labor’s assault against the gig economy, it may come down to just that.

The Trump administration recently announced that it would be fast tracking a regulatory order for “determining independent contractor status under the Fair Labor Standards Act.” Under current guidelines, there is no single federally limiting labor test in determining whether someone is an independent contractor or an employee. The distinction is important because it can limit the nature of flexible work agreements between workers and businesses when it comes to working hours or the ability to take on multiple jobs. Unfortunately, it might take more than federal agency deference to fully address the issues arising out of states like California. Due to the ability of new administrations to interpret and re-interpret the FLSA, as was the case in 2015 and again in 2017, these standards continue to change to the potential detriment of the American worker. Under a Biden-Harris administration, independent contractors face a promise of demise.

Instead of leaving the fate of millions of workers to the regulatory re-interpretation of bureaucrats, Congress should implement a federal standard for the nature of workforce relationships between individuals and businesses. The standard would supersede state and local laws to avoid the compliance nightmares associated with a patchwork of laws like AB5 in California and to maximize the ability of all individuals to work with and for whom they wish without the needless involvement of Big Labor or Big Government. This standard would preserve the ability of freelancers and independent contractors to generate income regardless of whether they live in California, Florida, or Ohio.

Such a federal standard would not prohibit businesses from providing perks or benefits to contractors and it would not punish them for doing so. Congress should not mandate that businesses treat freelancers or contractors like employees if those businesses choose to provide health care or retirement contributions and benefits, for example. A restrictive mandate like this would drive up the cost of entrepreneurship, straddling startups and small businesses alike with unaffordable burdens while dismantling the opportunities that exist within the current contracting model.

As an alternative, Congress could create a safe harbor for businesses who choose to give workers benefits under a federal standard for worker agreements. This safe harbor would allow for a business to make retirement, universal savings accounts, or Health Savings Account contributions to independent contractors, without jeopardizing the nature of the independent contracting agreements or lumping these workers into a category of those defined as employees.

This sort of federal standard would protect businesses who are in a financial position to provide their contract workers with benefits without mandating that their smaller competitors significantly increase their overhead costs to the point of insolvency. At the end of the day, both businesses and workers should be given maximum flexibility with limited government intervention in the nature of benefits, hours, or workforce flexibility and mobility. A federal preemption standard would go a long way in saving nearly 9% of the American economy from the litigious nature of unions and their allies in the Democrat Party.   

Photo Credit: Collin Dow, Flicker


Where Do the 2020 Democrats Stand on Vaping?

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Posted by Paul Blair on Thursday, January 30th, 2020, 4:14 PM PERMALINK

Today, Americans for Tax Reform released a compilation of the top remaining Democratic candidates for president who have come out recently against vaping. Some have gone so far as to call for complete and total bans. 

Click here for a larger image of this graphic.

Joe Biden: *"I choose science over fiction. And so 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."

Bernie Sanders: *"I think we shut down the industry. If they are causing addition, and if, and the evidence is that people are getting sick as a result. They're inhaling a lot of bad stuff, right?" 

In an exchange with the New York Times editorial board in December, Senator Sanders made similar comments. 

Editorial board member: "Do you believe that flavored e-cigarettes should be banned? How would you tackle the vaping-related health crisis?

Bernie Sanders: *"Yeah I do. I think that they already seem to be causing serious health problems."

Pete Buttigieg: *"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."

Elizabeth Warren goes so far as to agree that she has some of the "harshest proposals" in regards to vaping, as she signaled during this exchange at a town hall:

Voter: “Of all the 2020 candidates running for the Democratic nomination, you have come out with some of the harshest proposals to regulate the vapor industry.”

Warren: [Nodding] “Mhm.”

Compared to most 2020 Democrats, Senator Elizabeth Warren has weighed in numerous times on the question on vaping. In November, Warren submitted questions to then-nominee for the FDA Stephen Hahn to get to the bottom of "the Trump administration’s reversal on its plan to remove certain flavored e-cigarettes and nicotine pods from the market and asking what steps the FDA will take to combat youth e-cigarette use and the spate of vaping-related illnesses plaguing the nation." 

The specific question submitted by Warren on November 20, 2019 to now-Commissioner Hahn for the record read as follows:

"In September 2019, the Administration announced that it would 'outline a plan…for removing flavored e-cigarettes and nicotine pods from the market,' including mint and menthol. Earlier this month, however, the Administration reversed course. Reportedly facing 'pressure from his political advisers and lobbyists,' the President 'has resisted moving forward with any action on vaping.' This failure to act is unacceptable. If confirmed, will you push to implement the robust ban on e-cigarette flavors announced in September?"

A compilation of some of these comments can be watched here:

Amy KlobucharThe 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.” 

Andrew Yang: When asked about an expected Trump administration ban on flavored vaping products, he responded: "So, I agree that we're headed in the right direction if we're taking steps. It is a bit overdue."

Tom Steyer was the largest individual donor to California's Proposition 56, representing over one-third of all money spent in support of a statewide measure to impose a massive new wholesale tax on e-cigarettes and the nicotine vapor industry in California. Not only did Steyer spend $11.3 million of his own money as the co-chair of the Prop. 56 campaign, but he appeared in television ads asking voters to implement the statewide 68% vaping tax as well. In fact, he championed his involvement in Prop. 56 in his first presidential campaign ad of the 2020 season and has a December ad dedicated to his involvement in the 2016 campaign, where he oddly neglects to mention the new tax on vaping created with his ballot initiative. 

Mike Bloomberg: has invested $160 million in a national campaign to ban all flavored nicotine vapor products.

*These comments were made after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention concluded that illicit THC and marijuana products were the culprit behind "damage" being done to consumers. 

More from Americans for Tax Reform


Pete Buttigieg Confuses Marijuana With Nicotine and Signals He'd Impose Harsher Regulations on Vaping

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Posted by Paul Blair on Wednesday, January 15th, 2020, 10:15 PM PERMALINK

In Iowa this week, Democrat Pete Buttigieg signaled that if elected, he would place tighter regulations on the nicotine vapor industry, stating that “the burden has to be” on the vapor industry to prove that e-cigarettes and nicotine vapor products are safe, during a town hall in Winterset, Iowa on Monday. He went on to mischaracterize the value and intended purpose of products that are specifically flavored in nature and to blame nicotine products for recent vaping-related illnesses. 

Here’s the key exchange:

Voter: “So, in 2019, more than 27% of high school students used an e-cigarette. How would you address this epidemic as it pertains to youth and young people?”

Buttigieg: “So, 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 the country is that it can be used for harm reduction. It can get people off smoking combustion cigarettes and into something that might be less dangerous than cigarettes. But that doesn't make them safe in their own right, and that doesn't answer why you would target them for people who aren't smokers at all. And I believe the burden has to be on these 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.

And it is why, whether its specific to e-cigarettes or whether its more generally when it comes to the way that we regulate food and drug and other products in this country that we have regulators who actually believe in protecting consumers rather than being beholden to those whose profits are at stake."

Not only does Buttigieg signal that he would impose rules more onerous than those recently implemented by the Trump administration, but he refused to acknowledge the harm reduction potential of a vast majority of vapor products that adults use to quit smoking which are in fact flavored.

Without evidence or context he asserted that e-cigarettes have caused harm to consumers. In fact, Mayor Pete seemed to purposely confuse the harm being inflicted on consumers by black market and illicit THC marijuana products, which have been identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as the culprit behind the recent vaping illnesses. Those THC products are generally already illegal in all instances, as opposed to legal nicotine vaping products available in convenience stores, vape shops, and other retail outlets. 

Buttigieg’s comments come less than a week after Elizabeth Warren signaled that she would crack down on legal nicotine vaping if elected and on the heels of Joe Biden also suggesting that he would “eliminate” vaping if elected.

“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,” Biden said.

More from Americans for Tax Reform


Elizabeth Warren's Anti-Vaping Extremism Ignores Benefit of Vaping for Adult Smokers

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Posted by Paul Blair on Monday, January 13th, 2020, 7:53 PM PERMALINK

Elizabeth Warren, responding to a voter question about vaping during a town hall on Sunday in Marshalltown, Iowa, agreed that she is perhaps the harshest candidate when it comes to the existence of the vapor industry, and signaled that she would crack down on legal nicotine vaping if elected.

Here’s the key exchange:

Voter: “Of all the 2020 candidates running for the Democratic nomination, you have come out with some of the harshest proposals to regulate the vapor industry.”

Warren: [Nodding] “Mhm.”

Voter: “If your proposals were enacted, it would shut down thousands of small businesses and eliminate over 95% of the products on the market today. What message do you have for adults like myself who rely on these products to live a smoke free life and are concerned that a vote for you would be a vote that would send me back to smoking and eventually my death?”

Warren: “Okay. So let me say the same thing I said earlier when we're talking about climate. I believe in science. I believe that the decisions we should be making about our health should not be decisions that are influenced by an industry. They should not be decisions, decisions that are influenced by lobbyists. I just want to do what's right here. And I want to protect our Food and Drug Administration to be able to do that. I read the argument and seen some of the data that suggests there are uses for vaping that may be safe and healthy. I, I haven't read all of the data on it. But like I said, I believe in science, I have also seen the risks that vaping poses to young people and to non smokers who are pulled in and what that means for their lives. So I just I want a rule that is based in science. I want a rule that is based in the best interests of the health of the people of the United States of America.”

It's not clear what "rule" Senator Warren is referencing, given the fact that the "Deeming Rule" which retroactively began to regulate the vaping industry was finalized in 2016 and subsequent decisions by the FDA have been issued via industry guidance that further limits the availability of these products, even for adults. Refusing to acknowledge the settled conclusion that vaping is a net benefit to adult smokers and posturing to suggest that further rules may be necessary indicate her lack of serious consideration of the subject. In fact, she recently joined other Senate Democrats in urging the Trump administration to ban all flavored nicotine vaoir products, product that are overwhelmingly used by millions of adults to transition away from cigarettes. Sen. Warren opposes anything that does not look like full scale prohibition. 

Last week Joe Biden suggested that he would “eliminate” vaping if elected.

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,” Biden said.


Joe Biden Suggests He Would “Eliminate” Vaping If Elected

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Posted by Adam Sabes, Paul Blair on Monday, January 6th, 2020, 1:18 PM PERMALINK

Biden: "I don't care what it does to a small business person who's selling this stuff."

For the second time in two days, leading Democrat Presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden suggested that he would ban nearly every life-saving nicotine vaping product on the market. Vaping is the most successful quit smoking tool ever devised, yet Joe Biden wants to “eliminate” or “halt” these life-saving products.

Here’s the key exchange during a campaign speech in Grinnell, Iowa on Sunday:

Voter at town hall: “My question is concerning the vapor industry. Over the past several months, the Trump administration thought over proposed regulations and then recently just came out with a much more narrow plan to target just the products that are the most popular among our youth, and it would largely leave small businesses unaffected. My question to you is, have you met with any of the small business owners in that space to see how these regulations impact them or how they think that we should continue forward in order to prevent youth access to these products.

Biden: “I have not met with any of the particular individual small business people selling the vaping equipment and the kinds of material that you can include in and put in the pipe. But I tell you what, one of the things that you know, everybody knows who Donald Trump is, we gotta let him know who we are, and he's telling who I am. And I choose science over fiction. And so 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. I would make it I would go after it in a hard way. I would make it broader, not just for he is.”

Joe Biden also said that he would halt the sale of vaping products in response to a voter question over the weekend, according to Bloomberg News.

This position stands in stark contrast to President Donald Trump's more nuanced position on the subject. Trump has expressed support for vaping as an alternative to smoking for adults and acknowledged that it is a huge advantage for a smoker who can make the switch. 

See more:

Conservatives Oppose Flavored Vape Ban

Moms to Trump: Don't Ban Flavored Vapes

Vape flavor ban will devastate Main Street businesses nationwide

Testimonials from adults who need flavored vapes to stay off cigarettes            

If you don't understand the power of the flavored vape issue, watch this video 

Vape ban could swing election against Trump

Sen. Ron Johnson letter to Trump: A flavored vape ban would harm public health and wipe out small businesses nationwide

NYT Editorial Board and Conservatives Agree: A Vape Ban is Bad for Public Health

WaPo: Vapers are "Astroturf" and Should Probably Die in Darkness


FDA's Decision to Ban Some Vapor Products is a Compromise But Not a Complete Victory

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Posted by Paul Blair on Thursday, January 2nd, 2020, 2:28 PM PERMALINK

Today, the FDA released final guidance regarding the sale and availability of nicotine vapor products on the market across the United States. Beginning soon, the agency will force the removal of "closed system" nicotine vapor products that contain disposable "pods" and "cartridges" in over 150,000 retail locations. Exempt from immediate prohibition are products largely sold by thousands of vape shops, where adults can purchase a variety of flavored products and devices to customize their vaping experience. 

In September in the midst of an unknown lung illness outbreak, President Donald Trump and Secretary Alex Azar announced that all flavored products would be removed from the market. At the time, Americans for Tax Reform raised the alarm and outlined the dire health consequences of prohibition and the potential electoral punishment that would result should a full ban be implemented. Based on polling conducted in part by ATR in 2016 and then in October by Trump pollster John McLaughlin, we argued that a significant voter bloc in the 2020 election would be the "vaper voter." That message resonated, with reports that Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale agreed with ATR's vaper voter case so much so that he weighed in with the White House urging them to reconsider a ban. 

Since September, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that all of the products tested from patients who had become ill from "vaping" contained a substance known as Vitamin E acetate. This additive is used by drug dealers on the black market to "cut" THC and marijuana vapor products and is not present in legal nicotine products subject to the Trump administration's new ban on pod and cartridge systems. 

ATR's Director of Strategic Initiatives, Paul Blair, had this to say of the new FDA guidance on vaping: 

"This fight should have never been necessary. The overreaction by nanny-state activists and the misrepresentation of the truth about the cause of teen vaping from some within the administration in September led the President into months of wasted time on an issue best addressed through sensible regulation and legislation on Capitol Hill. More than 10,000 small mom and pop businesses had to spend Thanksgiving and Christmas without any sort of clue about whether they'd have to let their employees go during the Holidays.

Fortunately, these small businesses have been spared, for now. The President heard many vapers' concerns and implemented a compromise position after an unprecedented amount of consideration was given to both anti-vaping activists and sensible small business advocates. 

The unfortunate reality, however, is that removing so many disposable and closed system vapor products from the market is that the very places where these reduced risk products were once available is where smokers can still buy any cigarette that they want. Smokers deserve choices, should they choose to quit. America's 34 million smokers will have fewer options, which may lead to fewer ever trying to quit with products that are at least 95% less harmful.

President Trump does deserve great praise for acknowledging the importance and health advantage of a smoker transitioning to an e-cigarette, an acknowledgement that never came from President Obama, who once smoked cigarettes. I hope that the current President understands that the pending May deadlines for submitting applications for every other business not impacted by this decision still present a real threat of prohibition given how complex and expensive the application process is. The FDA must immediately issue clarifying guidance on how small firms that sell flavored vapor products are supposed to make it through a regulatory process that has only ever worked for actual tobacco products.

Vapor products are the most successful quit-smoking tool to have ever existed. It would be a shame if they largely ceased to exist at the end of the historically successful Trump administration because some of his trusted advisors were taking direction from the likes of Mike Bloomberg." 

See more:

Conservatives Oppose Flavored Vape Ban

Moms to Trump: Don't Ban Flavored Vapes

Vape flavor ban will devastate Main Street businesses nationwide

Testimonials from adults who need flavored vapes to stay off cigarettes            

If you don't understand the power of the flavored vape issue, watch this video 

Vape ban could swing election against Trump

Sen. Ron Johnson letter to Trump: A flavored vape ban would harm public health and wipe out small businesses nationwide

NYT Editorial Board and Conservatives Agree: A Vape Ban is Bad for Public Health

WaPo: Vapers are "Astroturf" and Should Probably Die in Darkness

More from Americans for Tax Reform


Morning Consult Poll of Trump Voters: "Flavor Ban Could Cost Him Tenth of His Voters"

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Posted by John Kartch, Paul Blair on Wednesday, November 27th, 2019, 5:30 PM PERMALINK

"11% who voted for Trump say they'd be less likely to vote for 2020 candidate who backs flavored e-cigarette ban"

"Trump's advisers have reportedly sowed fear that a ban could wreak havoc on his re-election effort in 2020. And according to new Morning Consult data, the administration may have cause for concern."

11 percent of Trump voters are less likely to vote for a 2020 candidate who backs a ban on flavored vaping products, according to a just-released Morning Consult poll.

Morning Consult stated:

"In a Nov. 22-24 survey of 1,988 voters, roughly 1 in 10 Trump 2016 voters said a 2020 presidential candidate backing a ban on flavored e-cigarettes would be less likely to win their vote, with 8 percent saying they would be 'much less likely' to vote in favor of that candidate. The sample of 677 Trump voters has a margin of error of 4 percentage points."

Americans for Tax Reform president Grover Norquist said in response to the poll findings:

"This poll showing the power of the vaping issue in driving how millions of Americans will vote confirms that people vote on issues of immediate and personal impact. The anti-vaping prohibitionists are threatening the lives of those Americans who use vaping as their way to stop smoking. They won’t go back without a fight.

"Woe to the politician who stands between the 10 million vapers and their choice for life and health. Americans want to be left alone to run their own lives and to protect their own health. Vapers have made a decision to stop smoking and choose the healthier path of vaping. Woe to the politician who stands between any American and their desire to lead a healthier, longer life."

Paul Blair, director of strategic initiatives at Americans for Tax Reform issued the following statement:

"Today's Morning Consult poll further validates what we have long said about the importance of vaper voters as a political constituency in 2020. The fact that 11 percent of Trump voters will be less likely to vote for the president next year if he implements a ban on most vapor products demonstrates that this issue could easily and singlehandedly cost him the election in states like Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania."

Blair continued:

"This poll follows an October poll conducted by Trump campaign pollster John McLaughlin that showed 83% of adult vapor product consumers in the 17 battleground states in 2020 are likely to decide their vote based solely on a candidate’s position on nicotine vapor products and issues. That poll also showed that 74% of adult vapers would be less likely to vote for the President if he implemented a vape ban. McLaughlin concluded, 'The vapor consumers in Trump’s base would likely turn on him over this single issue.' Today's Morning Consult poll shows that an even broader constituency than vapers themselves may turn on the President over this issue.

Vaping is a political issue for more than 13 million adults because so many of them have successfully used these reduced risk alternatives to cigarettes to quit smoking. When you jeopardize people's livelihoods by threatening kill 150,000 jobs and put at risk the improved health of millions of adults by threatening to take away their access to e-cigarettes, you will lose votes. Personal health is a political issue and prohibition is a losing proposition."

The following groups and individuals oppose a ban on flavored vaping products for adults:

American Conservative Union
Americans for Tax Reform
Heritage Action
Independent Women's Forum
FreedomWorks
Goldwater Institute
Citizens Against Government Waste
Competitive Enterprise Institute
Becky Norton Dunlop, Heritage Foundation's Ronald Reagan Distinguished Fellow
60 Plus Association
Freedom Foundation of Minnesota
Hispanic Leadership Fund
James Madison Institute
Pelican Institute for Public Policy
Mackinac Center for Public Policy
Montana Policy Institute
R Street Institute
Reason Foundation
Rio Grande Foundation
Taxpayers Protection Alliance
American Consumer Institute
Consumer Choice Center
And many others: click here to see a conservative coalition letter to President Trump urging him to oppose a ban.

Many left wing politicians want to impose a flavored vape ban including Chuck Schumer, Michael Bloomberg, Dick Durbin, Rashida Tlaib, Patty Murray, and pretty much everyone in charge of San Francisco.

Also of note:

Conservatives Oppose Flavored Vape Ban

Moms to Trump: Don't Ban Flavored Vapes

Vape flavor ban will devastate Main Street businesses nationwide

Testimonials from adults who need flavored vapes to stay off cigarettes            

If you don't understand the power of the flavored vape issue, watch this video

Vape ban could swing election against Trump

Sen. Ron Johnson letter to Trump: A flavored vape ban would harm public health and wipe out small businesses nationwide

NYT Editorial Board and Conservatives Agree: A Vape Ban is Bad for Public Health

WaPo: Vapers are "Astroturf" and Should Probably Die in Darkness

 

 


Congress Should Reject Additional Online Sales Restrictions for Adults Who Buy E-Cigarettes

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Posted by Paul Blair on Wednesday, November 13th, 2019, 6:23 PM PERMALINK

This week, the Senate will consider legislation sponsored by Senator Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) that would both prohibit the United States Postal Service from shipping electronic cigarettes and vapor products to adults and increase the cost of the products delivered by other companies. These bills will have a significant impact on millions of adults who rely on the availability of vapor products purchased online to quit smoking cigarettes. 

Currently, services like Veratad and Age Checker verify a consumer's age online with third party databases to ensure that they are consistent with the information the government has on age to purchase laws. Some of these services further require you to upload a photo ID already, making a new federally mandated point of delivery age verification both unnecessary and additionally costly. This legislation will result in adult consumers being forced to pay several dollars more each time they have e-cigarettes shipped to their homes, a needless government action that will result in fewer smokers transitioning to e-cigarettes, which are 95% less harmful than cigarettes. 

Teens who are not of the legal age to vape (those under the age of 18-21, depending on the state) are currently prohibited from purchasing nicotine vapor products online, a policy aggressively enforced by the Food and Drug Administration. The FDA both monitors and enforces against online businesses that do not check age at the time of purchase or when you access the sales portion of a website that sells e-cigarettes. There is not an online loophole that allows underage consumers to purchase vapor products online.

FDA data conclusively points to social sources like friends or family being the way that teens get access to e-cigarettes, not online sales. This bill does not address the stated concerns of proponents of the legislation. 

The Senate should reject this legislation because it will raise costs on adult consumers and may result in fewer people choosing to use reduced risk alternatives to cigarettes. 

More from Americans for Tax Reform


Vape Ban Could Swing Election Against Trump

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Posted by Paul Blair on Friday, November 1st, 2019, 5:12 PM PERMALINK

According to a Friday afternoon Axios scoop, "The Trump administration plans to finalize a ban on almost all flavored vaping products, with exemptions only for tobacco and menthol flavors, according to sources familiar with the plan. An announcement is expected next week."

But a poll conducted last week by Trump's campaign pollster John McLaughlin follows an ATR analysis of the number of adult vapers in battleground states like Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Florida. That analysis, based on FDA data of adult use of e-cigarettes, showed that in 12 swing states, there are more than 4.1 million adult vapers, far more than the number needed to tip the election one way or the other.

In a new national poll conducted by McLaughlin & Associates, a significant number of adults that use e-cigarettes in seventeen key battleground states indicate that they will reject President Donald Trump’s re-election bid if his administration moves forward on a proposed plan to ban all flavored e-cigarettes, on that issue alone. The proposal to ban flavored vapor products is currently under consideration by the Food and Drug Administration and being championed by Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar. 

The McLaughlin firm was a principal polling firm for Donald Trump in 2016 and remains a trusted ally for the administration. The poll was commissioned by the Vapor Technology Association. According to the pollsters

Four in five (83%) vapor consumers are likely to decide their vote based solely on a candidate’s position on nicotine vapor products and issues. Half (50%) are “very” likely to be single issue voters. 

This is almost identical to the polling conducted in part by Americans for Tax Reform in October of 2016, which can be found here. 

McLaughlin further concluded:  

Nearly all (96%) of these vapor consumers are likely to vote in the 2020 general elections. Four in five (85%) are “definitely” voting. Among the 4% who are less likely to vote, the majority (59%) would be likely to come out to vote if lawmakers banned the sale and use nicotine vapor products. 

These vapor consumers favor the Republican candidate on the generic ballot (46% to 24%), but 30% are undecided and up for grabs in the battleground states. 

Supporting a ban on flavors in all nicotine vapor products is a political liability. Nearly all (96%) vapor consumers are LESS likely to vote for a candidate who supports a flavor ban. The intensity (92% much less likely) shows the passion they share on this issue. 

The White House recently confirmed to the Washington Post that the “opinion of the [Trump] campaign" was that ‘banning flavored e-cigarettes might cost Trump reelection,’ an assertion published in the Washington Examiner based on an ATR analysis of likely single-issue adult vapers in key battleground states.  

McLaughlin also concluded that there “is political upside for candidates who oppose a ban on flavors in all nicotine vapor products. Virtually nine in ten (88%) vapor consumers are MORE likely to vote for a candidate who opposes a flavor ban. Eight in ten (79%) are ‘much’ MORE likely to support such a candidate.” 

On the flip side, if HHS Secretary Alex Azar and Acting FDA Commissioner successfully convince the White House to implement a flavor ban, McLaughlin concluded that “vapor consumers in Trump’s base would likely turn on him over this single issue.”  

Although vapor consumers currently approve of the job Donald Trump is currently doing as President (51-44), 74% said that they would be less likely to vote for him, with 65% saying they would be “much less” likely to vote for Trump. Among key base and supporters, it’s significant: 

  • Approve Trump: 65% less likely; 
  • Republicans: 65% less likely; 
  • Conservatives: 62% less likely; 
  • Independent Men: 83% less likely; 
  • Independent Women: 79% less likely.  
     

Prior to e-cigarettes, 84% of respondents smoked a pack of cigarettes a day or more, with 94% reporting no longer smoking cigarettes due to nicotine vapor products. More than half smoked for at least 20 years before quitting. 

“This new poll further confirms what Americans for Tax Reform has long argued, that millions of adults who use flavored nicotine e-cigarettes to quit smoking will vote on that issue and that issue alone. Banning flavors would be a significant political liability in every single one of the states that Donald Trump needs to win next year, especially in states like Michigan, Florida, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin which have at least two million adult vapers alone,” said Paul Blair of Americans for Tax Reform. 

“As McLaughlin suggests, 74% of vapers in these states voting against the President because of this issue would cost him big. McLaughlin is a trusted pollster for the President so it is our hope that this puts a stop to the FDA and HHS's misguided plans to hand Democrats a win in 2020 by banning life-saving flavored e-cigarettes. Prohibition is not a winning proposition. Instead of demonizing people who are improving their own health by transitioning to products that are 95% less harmful, the federal government should focus its attention on the true cause of recent illnesses and death: black market THC and marijuana,” said Blair.

The FDA's Michael Bloomberg-style push for a flavored e-cigarette ban disregards the importance of flavors in transitioning adult smokers away from cigarettes onto less harmful alternatives. In an analysis published in the journal Harm Reduction last year, the evidence suggests that flavored products are the overwhelming preference for adults, with tobacco and menthol ranking outside of the top five consumer preferences.

Banning flavored e-cigarettes for adults would force adult vapers to go back to smoking or to seek out products on the dangerous black market.

The poll of adult vapor voters was commissioned by the Vapor Technology Association and conducted between October 17 and 22 in Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin. The full crosstabs can be found here. 

Read more: Conservative Groups Urge President to Reject Flavored E-Cigarette Ban


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