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. 

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