Donald Trump speaks from a chair in the Oval Office
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 11: U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during an Oval Office announcement September 11, 2019 at the White House in Washington, DC. Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar announced that the U.S. government is planning to ban all non-tobacco flavored vaping products from the market. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Trump Wants to Ban Flavored E-Cigarettes, but AR-15s Still A-Okay

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Donald Trump has proposed banning flavored e-cigarettes after hundreds of people across the country have mysteriously gotten sick and six people have reportedly died from vaping-related illnesses. He told reporters that vaping is a problem especially “as it pertains to innocent children.”

It’s true that Juul and other vaping brands have been accused of targeting teens, both with the use of sugary flavors and specific social media campaigns. Trump said that this is the reason why his wife Melania Trump cares so deeply about the issue—because of “her” young son. He apparently forgot momentarily that he too has a young son and that they are the same person. Oops.

Anyway, the Trump administration is now pushing for the banning of all non-tobacco-flavored e-cigs. And, on the one hand, no one that doesn’t benefit directly from young people using those products wants them to be marketed or sold to the youth. So sure, maybe some increased penalties or other security measures or whatever it took to end those Joe Camel ads in the ’90s could be useful.

Unlike my editor Kaila Hale-Stern who would like the administration to pry her mango Juul pods from her cold, dead hands, I have no personal dog in this race. I do, however, have the exact same reaction as apparently everyone else on the entirety of the internet, which is, essentially:

Really? You’re going to claim to be so concerned about the safety of our youths over illnesses related to e-cigarettes, but not over the constant shootings that specifically target schools, food festivals, and other places where young people gather? Really?

If people are getting sick and definitely if they’re dying, there are obvious concerns that need to be addressed. But there are also questions and observations that seem pretty damn relevant.

And, as writer Jia Tolentino—who wrote an in-depth exploration of the rise of Juul and vaping in general for The New Yorker last year—explained on Twitter, criminalizing and deregulating vaping products will have the exact opposite effect Trump says he’s aiming for. The entire reason why people are getting sick is very likely because of the knock-off, unregulated products that will continue to exist if products and brands like Juul are forced off the market.

This will, however, satisfy the sorts of voters who see a headline about vaping teens dying and think he did anything to actually solve that non-epidemic. But, as per usual with anything Trump says, there’s probably a corrupt motive behind it, it won’t benefit the people he says it will, and it will hurt way more people in general.

(image: Alex Wong/Getty Images)

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Vivian Kane
Vivian Kane (she/her) is the Senior News Editor at The Mary Sue, where she's been writing about politics and entertainment (and all the ways in which the two overlap) since the dark days of late 2016. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she gets to put her MFA to use covering the local theatre scene. She is the co-owner of The Pitch, Kansas City’s alt news and culture magazine, alongside her husband, Brock Wilbur, with whom she also shares many cats.