Donald Trump announced today that he’s banning flavored vaping, because vaping has caused six deaths nationwide. Trump insisted that he’s doing it to protect children. Most of the media attention has been on the fact that in the process, Trump appeared not to know that Barron is his son. But the real story here is why Trump really signed this bill – and it’s certainly not about protecting anyone.
I’ve never used tobacco in any form, so I don’t have a proverbial dog in this fight. Six people have died from vaping, so we should be looking into why. I’ve seen kids vaping, and that’s a bad thing; I wouldn’t presume to know whether or not these are the same kids who would have become cigarette smokers anyway. I’m also aware of plenty of adults who have been able to use vaping to quit cigarettes, and that’s a good thing; the death rate from cigarettes is orders of magnitude higher than the death rate from vaping. The thing is, none of this had anything to do with Trump’s move today.
Big Tobacco funds the Republican Party, and by extension, the Donald Trump campaign. It’s as simple as that. Big Tobacco does profit from vaping – but not nearly as much as it profits from the sales of cigarettes, a product it controls from start to finish. The last thing Big Tobacco wants is cigarette smokers switching over en masse to vaping, which will cut into its profits, and could threaten its oligarchic control of the tobacco industry. When there’s a shift like this, there’s a risk the dominant market player could end up no longer being dominant, such as what happened to Microsoft when the public began shifting from computers to mobile devices.
Whatever the right answer might be on vaping, it has nothing to do with why Donald Trump banned flavored vaping today. All you need to do is look at the fact that shares of the Big Tobacco companies went up after Trump made his announcement, and shares of their vape company competitors went down. Trump is as corrupt as it gets, and as always, this was entirely about the money flowing into his own pocket.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report