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US president Donald Trump reportedly said 'I should never have done that f---ing vaping thing,' expressing regrets over his involvement in e-cigarette policy

Kat Tenbarge , Business Insider US
 Jan 20, 2020, 02:43 PM
Vaping activists protested outside of Mar-A-Lago after the FDA issued a ban on flavored e-cigarette pods.
  • Axios reported that Trump expressed regret that he personally got involved in vaping policy, with two sources saying he remarked "I should never have done that f---ing vaping thing" on an impromptu phone call.
  • Trump was in an Oval Office campaign meeting discussing health care as a 2020 issue when he spontaneously called Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar.
  • The sources also said Trump didn't regret the policy, but thinks he should have left it up to the Food and Drug Administration instead of personally getting involved.
  • Previously, Trump told reporters his administration would "protect our children" by pulling certain sweet, fruity vape flavours that could entice minors into trying vaping.
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President Donald Trump's most prominent heath care policy thus far may be his administration's ban on flavoured vapes. The move was intended to reduce teen vaping, but also spurned a vaping activism movement.

Now, Trump seems to regret getting himself personally involved in the vaping crackdown. On an impromptu Oval Office phone call with Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, Trump said "I should never have done that f---ing vaping thing," two sources told Axios. The call was on speakerphone.

Trump placed the call during a campaign meeting, while he discussed health care as a 2020 issue. A source told Axios that Azar was defensive of the vaping policy after Trump expressed regret, but that the president's regret was more about his personal involvement in the vaping policy.

The Food and Drug Administration oversees vaping and e-cigarette policy, but Trump was vocal about his administration's move to combat minors vaping, telling reporters in December that "we're going to protect our families, we're going to protect our children."

"The flavours will come off," Trump said, according to USA Today. "They're going to be checked. People have died from this. They've died from vaping."

The president's comments followed the vape-related lung disease epidemic. After initial plans for a widespread crackdown on flavoured e-cigarettes, the Trump administration announced a more limited ban on sales of flavoured vaping pods besides tobacco and menthol varieties, excluding open-tank vaping devices.

During his phone call with Azar, Trump also playfully asked "When are you gonna get these drug prices lower?" and suggested he "hurry up" to pass rules that would allow Americans to import cheaper drugs from Canada, sources told Axios.

Shortly after the call, Azar appeared on Fox News and praised Trump as "the greatest protector of religious liberty who has ever sat in the Oval Office."

The White House didn't immediately respond to Business Insider's request for comment.

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