Senator Rand Paul is one of President Trump’s staunchest allies, and recent comments by the Kentucky Republican may be signaling which direction the administration’s flavor ban may be heading.  During a hearing this week for the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, Paul said that flavor bans on e-cigarettes are “counterintuitive” to resolving the so-called teen vaping epidemic.  If kids are getting sick and dying from illegal use of THC-enhanced cartridges, then why would the government want to make even more vaping products illegal, Paul wonders.

The nicotine-based vapor industry has found itself in the middle of a political quagmire in recent months due to mainstream media and federal public health agencies intentionally misreporting events and causational factors surrounding a newly emerging lung disorder.  Instead of attributing the medical condition to the true culprit, THC-containing vapor cartridges sold on the Black Market, the CDC and thousands of news outlets have continuously mislabeled and misreported the lung ailment as being merely “vaping-related.”

This deliberate misrepresentation of the facts is leading millions of Americans to wrongly assume that conventional nicotine-based products like JUUL and NJOY are to blame for this outbreak of respiratory injuries.  Meanwhile, the national vaping rates of THC-infused products remains relatively unchanged, and the associated death toll keeps rising.  None of this is going unnoticed by Senator Rand Paul.

Rand Paul suggests emphasis should be on illegal sellers rather than vape bans

WLKY Radio in Louisville is reporting that Rand Paul was quick to point out the many life-threatening discrepancies between “vaping-related” fact and fiction.  During the Wednesday hearing, Paul said that the majority – if not the totality – of these “vaping-related” medical diagnoses can be directly linked to illegal THC-containing products.  He also stated that it’s “already illegal for kids to vape” and that banning nicotine-based e-cigs will essentially push the nation’s youth even deeper into the arms of the Black Market.

 “I have kids, and I’ve warned them about the vaping of illegal products…But it seems to be primarily deaths and horrific medical problems from vaping illegal products. So, what we’re going to do in response to that is make more vaping illegal? It seems kind of counterintuitive. It seems like if you make more things illegal, maybe you get more people vaping illegal products, and you have more problems.”

Instead of a nationwide flavor ban, Paul suggests that federal and state governments should be more aggressive in “going after” the sellers of these contraband THC-containing products.  He also notes that nearly half a million adults die from smoking each and every year – and vaping has saved “hundreds of thousands of lives” already.

“Now you say, ‘Well it’s not a good idea to have kids vaping for one reason or another.’ Well, yeah, that’s probably true, but it’s already illegal for kids to vape. If you want kids not to vape, why don’t we increase the penalty of people selling to kids?”
 
“You know, 480,000 people die from smoking each year. Two-thousand people are dying from vaping illegal products, and I don’t want to discount that—we should do something about it. But we get all strung out on these things, and we want to react, react, react really quickly, but nobody is really asking one important question – how many lives are being saved?… I think there are estimates that hundreds of thousands of lives have been saved over the past 12 years from vaping instead of smoking.”
 

Rand Paul is one of President Trump’s staunchest supporters, and Trump often seeks his personal advice and counsel on a variety of issues.  When Trump was chastised by elected officials from both sides of the political aisle regarding his decision to pull troops out of Syria, it was Rand Paul who was the sole voice of support for the president on capitol Hill.  When the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives first announced the launching of an official impeachment inquiry, it was Paul who said that he would call for immediately dismissal if the proceedings extend to the Senate floor.

These coordinated messaging campaigns between Trump and Paul make abundantly clear that the Kentucky senator has the ear of the president. Are Paul’s recent remarks a small window into the president’s current state of mind regarding a possible flavor ban?   Here’s hoping.

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