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.