Many reporters covering the flavored vape issue haven’t bothered to leave their desk and visit a local vape shop. This ignorance reveals itself in subtle and not-so-subtle news articles pushing to impose a national Michael Bloomberg-style ban on flavored vaping products which adults rely on to quit smoking combustible cigarettes.
So to anyone who still doesn’t understand the health and electoral consequences of a flavored vape ban, watch the video below, a compilation of 15-second testimonials recorded in the past 36 hours:
“Hi, my name is Jess and I’m 33 years old. I smoked cigarettes for 20 years, and I finally quit with cotton candy e-liquid. Not only do I vape, but I also manage a vape shop and invested my life savings into the industry last year, so, vaping didn’t just save my life, it’s also my livelihood.” — Jessika Eryn
“Hello, my name is Jeremy. I’m the owner of VapeWorks in Cumberland, Maryland. I smoked for 19 years starting at the age of 13. I switched to vaping when I found out that I was going to have my son seven years ago, I started off with a little Ego Twist and fruit flavors and I’ve moved on up to owning my own shops. Flavors have saved my life. And don’t forget that I vape and I vote. Thank you.” — Jeremy
“My name is Bodie. I’m 44 years old. I smoked two to two and a half packs a day of Camel Lights for 21 years. I tried Chantix, patch, gum, hippy-dippy accutherapy, and cold turkey more times than I can count. Cinnamon candy-flavored vapor got me to quit. Four days after I tried my first vapor, I smoked my last cigarette.” — Bodie
“I started smoking cigarettes when I was 15. Once I got into my 30s, I realized I needed to quit. I tried patches, gum, pills, everything. Nothing worked until vaping. Vaping green apple e-liquid was the only thing that helped me to quit smoking cigarettes. If it wasn’t for vaping, I’d still be smoking.” — Candice
“I’m 47 years old and my name is Jennifer. I quit smoking in 2010 with a great mint flavored vapor. I would like the president to please save the vape shops and save flavors so they can continue to save people every day from combustible tobacco. Tobacco kills, vaping saves lives. We vape, we vote.” — Jennifer
“My name is Hannah. I’m a single issue voter. I am a mother of two middle school students and I gave up my two pack a day smoking habit with vaping flavor and nicotine e-liquids and use flavors like banana nut bread, birthday cake, and apple pie. Flavors save lives.” — Hannah
“I stopped [smoking] with a flavor called summer tea. I work for Knoxville Vapor and I’ve helped thousands top smoking and switch to vapor products.” — Jacob
ATR this week also released a compilation video of local news reports showing how state-imposed vape flavor bans are devastating to communities.
“The flavor ban pushers do not understand how personal and intense this issue is to millions of adult vapers who will vote next year. As shown by our compilation of local news reports, state-imposed flavor bans are already devastating main street vape shops, their employees, and their adult customers who use flavors in order to quit smoking. These adults are a highly motivated voting block who will punish any politician that imposes a flavor ban,” said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform.
One example from the video compilation is a Harrisburg, Pennsylvania news report that notes a flavor ban will “put more than 300 vape shops across Pennsylvania out of business, causing a ripple effect for employees and their communities.”
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 a 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.