In September, President Trump said his administration would ban the sale of most flavored e-cigarettes. "We can’t have our kids be so affected," said Trump at the White House, making reference to first lady Melania Trump's concern over the dangers of vaping. Now two reports say Trump abruptly reversed course, mostly because he became worried about the political fallout from young voters and lost jobs in the vaping industry. The Washington Post first reported the reversal, and the New York Times confirmed. Both accounts say Trump made the final decision on Nov. 4, while aboard a plane to a political rally in Kentucky. Health and Human Services chief Alex Azar had until then been scheduled to have a press conference the following day to announce the federal restrictions.
The Post has a critical take on all this: "It was the latest example of the chaotic way policy is made—and sometimes unmade—in a White House where the ultimate decider often switches gears after making a controversial vow, whether on combating gun violence, pulling troops from Syria or promising to deliver an Obamacare replacement plan." The gist of both stories is that Trump was surprised at the negative reaction his initial announcement received. Political advisers including 2020 campaign manager Brad Pascale also warned him that the backlash could hurt him in battleground states. The administration is now working on a new plan, and it's not clear when it will be unveiled. (Industry giant Juul, meanwhile, is dropping flavored e-cigs on its own.)