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November 21, 2019

AVA's Conley, VTA's Abboud Will Attend White House Meeting Friday

UPDATE - Nov. 21

Vaping360 has confirmed that Vapor Technology Association (VTA) executive director Tony Abboud and American Vaping Association president Gregory Conley have been invited to the meeting. That means the independent vaping industry and consumers will be represented at the meeting.

Conley confirmed the information.

The VTA represents more than 1,000 small- and medium-sized vaping businesses, and has emerged in recent years as the most effective vaping trade organization. The AVA doesn’t represent industry or consumers specifically, but generally promotes vaping through media appearances and in public forums.

The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids will also be present. Other participants haven't been announced.

(The story below was published yesterday, before any participants were known.)

Trump administration officials will meet Friday with stakeholders to discuss the future of vaping product regulations, according to the Wall Street Journal. “Participants will include a diverse group of advocacy, industry, non-profits, medical associations, and state officials,” the White House said.

The meeting “will allow the president and other administration officials an opportunity to hear from a large group, representing all sides as we continue to develop responsible guidelines that protect the public health and the American people,” according to a White House statement.

No one is certain which, if any, groups will represent vaping consumers or the independent vaping industry.

Earlier this month, President Trump backed away from a ban on flavored vaping products just a day before the ban was set to be announced. The President told his staff he was concerned with losing votes from vapers in battleground states in next year’s election, and also with lost jobs, according to the Washington Post. Trump has been accused of backing down from the previously planned ban because of lobbying pressure.

“As the president has said, there is a serious problem among our youth and their growing addiction to e-cigarettes,” the White House said in today’s statement, according to the Journal. “The policy making process is not stalled —it continues to move forward.”

Vaping advocates inside and outside the industry don’t believe the President or his advisers have a strong understanding of the controversy from a vaper’s point of view. If legitimate representatives who can speak for vapers (and the non-tobacco segment of the vaping industry) are not invited to the meeting, it will allow incumbent interests to shut the disruptive young industry out of the future.

Smokers created vaping without any help from the tobacco industry or anti-smoking crusaders, and vapers have the right to keep innovating to help themselves. My goal is to provide clear, honest information about the challenges vaping faces from lawmakers, regulators, and brokers of disinformation. I recently joined the CASAA board, but my opinions aren’t necessarily CASAA’s, and vice versa. You can find me on Twitter @whycherrywhy

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