As the United States grapples with the ongoing crisis of rising use of vape products among teens and youth, President Donald Trump said that new restrictions will bump the age limit for e-cigarettes from 18 to 21. Or so!
“We’re going to be coming out with a very important position on vaping. We have to take care of our kids most importantly. So we’re going to have an age limit of 21,” Trump said Friday while speaking to reporters before adding, “or so.”
Trump went on to claim that the administration’s formal policy will be forthcoming next week. He added that those involved with the talks “have a lot of people to look at, including jobs, frankly, because, you know, it’s become a pretty big industry.” He further said that current discussions around vaping reforms include both the age limit as well as potential flavor bans.
Citing a source familiar with the matter, the Wall Street Journal reported Friday that the administration is still ironing out the specifics of how to raise the minimum age for vaping products, as well as whether that policy would also apply to traditional cigarettes, among other tobacco products.
Juul, the market leader for e-cigarettes and the preferred product of choice among teens, has frequently been publicly castigated by health officials over its popularity among and alleged targeting of teens and youth. In an attempt to keep regulators at bay, Juul has overhauled and then subsequently halted its advertising, pulled its fruity flavors from stores and then from sale online, and this week even yanked mint flavors from sale (though menthol remains available).
Juul, for its part, has been adamant in its own support of raising the minimum age of vaping to 21. The company said in March that “raising the legal age to purchase tobacco products to 21 is not the only strategy for reducing underage use, we believe it is critical because it will prevent high-school seniors and recent high-school graduates from purchasing tobacco products and sharing them with underage users.” Juul has rallied around state-level policy-making as well.
But “21 or so” certainly leaves much to the imagination. What if 21, but also six months? Or 22? Or how about throwing a wrench into this whole thing and raise the legal age of vaping to 20?
Evidently we’ll have more clarity on whatever the hell “or so” means next week.