President Donald Trump pitted public-health advocates against vaping proponents and tobacco executives in an unusual White House meeting on Friday, as he considers whether to enact strict curbs on e-cigarette flavors.

The Trump administration has wavered on a proposal from Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar to ban all flavored vaping products except tobacco without approval from the Food and Drug Administration. The meeting came nearly two weeks after the president first said he’d meet with stakeholders in a tweet, and follows weeks of mixed signals from the administration about its plans.

During the extraordinary meeting, proponents and opponents of flavored vaping products openly argued with each other in front of the president and reporters invited to observe. The chief executive officer of Njoy Electronic Cigarettes, Ryan Nivakoff, accused the chief executive officer of market leader Juul Labs Inc., K C Crosthwaite, of deliberately marketing its products to children.

After listening to several of the participants, Trump said that he wants to “do something for everybody, where everybody’s happy.”

He indicated that he’s concerned an outright ban of flavored vaping products would create a black market. “If you don’t give it to them, it’s going to come here illegally,” he said.

But he also said his administration would raise the legal age to buy any vaping product to 21.

Vaping Rivals

Groups participating in the meeting included the Vapor Technology Association, Americans for Tax Reform, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Vaping Association, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, and Parents Against Vaping E-cigarettes, according to people familiar with the matter.

Just what shape any final policy changes could take -- or whether any curbs will be adopted at all -- is far from certain. After the initial proposal of a broad flavor ban was floated in September, the vaping industry pushed back, arguing tough restrictions could cost jobs and leave adult smokers without a valuable tool to help them quit cigarettes.

Public-health groups who’d cheered the proposed ban, meanwhile, have urged the president to put it in place.

First « 1 2 3 4 » Next