President Donald Trump spoke about the dangers of vaping on Wednesday as he proposed a ban on flavored e-cigarettes.
“We have a problem in our country. It’s a new problem. It’s a problem nobody really thought about too much a few years ago and it’s called vaping, especially vaping as it pertains to innocent children,” Trump said.
The proposal would ban all non-tobacco flavored vaping products from the market.
“It’s out there, and we want to have parents understand that we’re studying it very carefully… it’s very new and potentially very bad,” he said. “There have been deaths and there have been a lot of other problems.”
The vaping industry has tried to get ahead of a widespread ban by lobbying for a ban of all vaping products for people under the age of 21.
Trump commented that vaping was likely not the solution to people who used it to quit cigarettes.
“People think it’s an easy solution to cigarettes but it turns out it has its own difficulties,” he said.
In recent days, reports of vaping related illnesses and deaths have been featured prominently in the news.
“The whole thing with vaping has been very profitable … but we can’t allow people to get sick and we can’t allow our youth to be affected,” Trump said. “People are dying and we’re going to look at it very very closely … it’s really not a wonderful thing.”
Trump said that First Lady Melania Trump was specifically interested in the issue.
“She’s got a son… she feels very strongly about it,” Trump said.
The president and the first lady were joined by Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and acting Federal Drug Administrator Norman Sharpless.
Azar said the banning process would take several weeks but would set a 30-day effective date soon.
“The kids are getting a hold of these products,” Azar said, noting that despite their best efforts, the federal government would have to ban the attractive flavors from the market until they could meet FDA approval.