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Congressional House Panel Approves Sweeping Vape Ban

The measure is intended to combat overall tobacco use

A House panel on Tuesday advanced a sweeping ban on flavored tobacco — including vaping products — as Democrats condemned President Donald Trump’s decision to stall his plans for muscular restrictions amid lobbying from political allies and the vape industry.

The bill approved by the House Energy and Commerce Committee is far more aggressive than the ban Trump proposed two months ago to combat surging public health crises tied to vaping. The Democrats’ measure, approved on a 28-24 vote mostly along party lines, would ban all flavored tobacco products, raise the purchasing age to 21 nationwide, and ban online sales in a bid to curb teen tobacco use, particularly of vaping products.

The legislation has gained momentum in the House as federal research showed teen vaping rates continuing to soar and as a vaping-linked lung disease swept across the country. Democrats also said the bill took on new importance in light of Trump’s refusal to move forward on the flavor ban he promised in September. That proposal is now in limbo as he reportedly weighs whether it would damage his election prospects.

“The president’s retreat on his promise” to prohibit flavored tobacco makes congressional action critical, said panel Chair Frank Pallone (D-N.J.), who sponsored the bill. He added that the holdup shows that Trump “cares more about pleasing special interests than advancing public health.”

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