Vaping News

A New Drug War

Vaping has become one of the hot topics in the race for the White House and the conversations has been termed “a classic moral panic”

Share on:
“The vaping panic is looking eerily like the start of a new drug war,” writes Anthony Fisher. It is becoming a hot topic for candidates seeking to become the next occupant of the White House as they tour the nation and give interviews. Meanwhile, President Trump’s flipflopping and fence sitting fails to offer a clear and reasonable way forward.

President Trump recently performed a 180 after Tony Fabrizio, one of his pollsters, told him healthcare was an important electoral issue, and campaign manager Brad Parscale told him Azar’s flavour ban would hurt him at the polling stations.

It is being reported by the New York Times that the President recently said in a private meeting: “I never should have done this ####### vaping thing”. Having sat on the fence for months, he came down on the side of the advice he was receiving from Alex Azar, the secretary of health and human services.

Pulling back from Azar’s position has left a hotchpotch of approaches. Flavours (other than tobacco) are banned for pod systems, except for menthol for no explicable reason. Normal liquid for open systems is fine…except the Deeming deadline looms and, with the ridiculously high costs associated with approval, many companies will go to the wall.

From no regulations to business-crushing ones, the country is struggling to find a responsible, reasonable approach to tobacco harm reduction. The forthcoming election doesn’t help as Democrat candidate billionaire Michael Bloomberg has seen vaping as a vote winner – or rather, crushing vaping.

Vaping is one prong on Bloomberg’s healthcare fork that he’s intent on sticking into Trump’s backside. He’s not alone, Pete Buttigieg and Bernie Sanders have recently shown their own anti-vape cutlery and expressed a willingness to slash away at whatever is left of the vaping industry should they become POTUS.

“What’s your position on ‘the epidemic’?”

“The side we're on is you know it's cool to raise it to 21 but we don't see why we need to ban all the flavours as well you know. The age should kind of be enough in our opinion,” Unkle Ruckus’s Smoking Emporium Manager Ben Smith told the Elon University newspaper.

Republican senator once said: “The first casualty, when war comes, is truth.” War is precisely what we are looking at, according to Business Insider’s Anthony Fisher.

“The vaping ‘epidemic’ is really a classic moral panic fuelled by sensationalistic media reports that ignored evidence and exacerbated by opportunistic politicians. Legal nicotine vapes almost certainly had nothing to do with the spate of vaping-related illnesses last year, and the increase in teen vaping corresponds with a massive historic drop in teen smoking. It might be too late to have a reasonable debate about vaping because sweeping prohibitions are already causing trouble.”

We can look forward to increased levels of hyperbole as the race for the White House hots up. Truth was battered and bruised already in the United States, it’s set to get much worse – especially if the bans become more severe.

“Much like the failed war on drugs, the results of vaping prohibition will almost certainly include black markets flooded with dangerous and substandard products, the overcriminalization of at-risk groups, and, very likely, increased cigarette smoking,” highlights Fisher.

“The ‘vaping epidemic’ is the wrong way to frame what's happening: It's a vaping panic. When the damage is tallied, it could very well prove to be one of the grossest cases of media malpractice and political opportunism of the modern era.”


  • Vaping on the campaign trail, Elon News – [link]
  • Trump Expresses Regret on Vaping Policy, New York Times – [link]
  • The vaping panic is looking eerily like the start of a new drug war, Anthony Fisher – [link]

Photo Credit:

Dave Cross avatar

Dave Cross

Journalist at POTV
View Articles

Dave is a freelance writer; with articles on music, motorbikes, football, pop-science, vaping and tobacco harm reduction in Sounds, Melody Maker, UBG, AWoL, Bike, When Saturday Comes, Vape News Magazine, and syndicated across the Johnston Press group. He was published in an anthology of “Greatest Football Writing”, but still believes this was a mistake. Dave contributes sketches to comedy shows and used to co-host a radio sketch show. He’s worked with numerous vape companies to develop content for their websites.

Join the discussion

Vaping News

Harm Reduction For The Rich

The United Kingdom risks becoming a harm reduction country only for the wealthy, according to Michael Landl of the World Vapers’ Alliance

Vaping News

CAPHRA Highlights Tobacco Control Flaws

The Coalition of Asia Pacific Tobacco Harm Reduction Advocates highlights the flaws in tobacco control which has led to the rise of black market in Australia

Vaping News

A Missed Opportunity at COP10

The Smoke Free Sweden movement says that COP10 was a missed opportunity to save millions of lives

Vaping News

COP10: Promote Tobacco Harm Reduction

Experts with Smoke Free Sweden are emphasising the urgent need for a Tobacco Harm Reduction approach at COP10