WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — Republican Utah Congressman Chris Stewart is calling on President Trump to follow through on his promise to ban flavored e-cigarettes.
“No question as well that the manufacturers of e-cigarettes are targeting kids,” Stewart said.
He called vaping a nationwide epidemic.
“They’re not marketing to 45-year-old truck drivers with Slurpee and bubblegum flavors, they’re marketing to our kids,” he said.
President Trump initially said he wanted to ban flavored e-cigarettes but then backed off the idea over concerns about how small vaping businesses would be impacted.
“Look if your business is built on marketing e-cigarettes to kids, I think that’s a bad idea. And I’ll be honest I want to make it harder for you not easier,” Stewart said.
The White House is also concerned flavored products will end up on the black market.
Oregon Democrat Kurt Schrader said he doesn’t think a complete ban is necessary.
“If you have tooty-fruity vaping that’s targeted to kids. You know, Menthol? That may be a different story. Maybe we have to get a better balance on that,” Schrader said.
Schrader also said the focus shouldn’t just be on flavors.
“I don’t know if the flavor ban is as important, as it is raising the age.”
That’s why Democrats and Republicans are working on a deal to raise the minimum age for all tobacco purchases to 21. The hope is that the bill would be included in the year-end spending package and could eventually help the country save money on healthcare costs.