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Vaping industry ad urges Trump to abandon flavor ban proposal

By Jonna Lorenz

Dec. 30 (UPI) -- The Vapor Technology Association has launched an ad campaign urging President Donald Trump to abandon a proposed ban on flavored electronic cigarettes.

Launched in West Palm Beach, Fla., the $100,000 ad buy began airing Sunday on CNN, MSNBC and Fox News, CBS News reported, noting that Trump is spending the holidays at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach.

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The 30-second commercial features two voters from Ohio speaking out against the ban, which Trump proposed in September.

Trump appeared to pull back from the proposal last month under political pressure. At a Nov. 22 meeting with vaping and tobacco industry leaders and public health officials, Trump asked about the possible implications of an outright ban on e-cigarette flavors.

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"A ban would either drive people back to combustible cigarettes, the leading cause of preventable death and disease in the U.S., or lead to illegal sales with a new and burgeoning black market," VTA Executive Director Tony Abboud said in a statement.

The VTA ad warns that millions of Americans will go back to cigarettes, if e-cigarettes flavors are banned, and says that vaping is 95 percent safer than smoking.

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"If you enact a flavor ban, this will cost you the election," Jeff Kathman says in the commercial.

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"I vape, and I vote," Sarah Rutland says.

First lady Melania Trump and first daughter Ivanka Trump are strong advocates for efforts to reduce youth vaping, leading to the proposal in September to ban flavors.

Dozens of vaping-related deaths also drove the issue. More than 2,500 people have been hospitalized and 56 have died as a result of vaping-related illnesses this year. Health officials suspect the cutting agent vitamin E acetate is to blame, but other possibilities are being investigated.

RELATED CDC: Vitamin E acetate in THC vapes is lung-injury culprit

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration this month began enforcing a new law raising the minimum age to buy tobacco products nationwide from 18 to 21.

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