Based on recent statistics alone, vaping appears to be a clear and present danger in America, especially among teenagers and other young people. However, President Donald Trump’s comments on Wednesday about a potential ban on flavored e-juices have drawn a lot of criticism from those who believe that the president is overlooking the much larger and much more dangerous problem of gun violence.
According to a report from Vice, a number of individuals expressed concern about Trump’s reaction to the recent uptick in vaping-related deaths, including Moms Demand Action founder Shannon Watts. In a Twitter post, the gun control activist stressed that there are at least seven children or teenagers out of the 100 or so people who are “shot and killed” in the United States each day.
“I realize the tobacco lobby didn’t give your campaign $30 million like the NRA did, but gun violence is a national crisis,” Watts continued.
Speaking to Vice, Johns Hopkins University trauma surgeon Joseph Sakran agreed that the U.S. has a vaping problem, but pointed out that the issue is “simply not comparable” to the “burden” of injuries and deaths related to firearm use.
“The inaction we have seen is not without consequence. We have veterans coming home from battlefields only to be killed on the streets of America by gun violence. We have citizens survive one mass shooting only to be killed in another. And we have perpetrators that fail a background check only to purchase a firearm through other private means and commit senseless tragedies like we have seen in Odessa.”
Sakran, who was described by the outlet as a survivor of gun violence, concluded by saying that Americans “deserve better” than to see the issue of firearm violence overlooked in favor of a proposed ban on flavored vape products.
Per Newsweek, Melania Trump was not spared from the criticism either, as actress and singer Bette Midler took to Twitter to accuse the first lady, who tweeted about the dangers of vaping as part of her “Be Best” initiative, of not showing enough concern for the hundreds of thousands of mass shooting and gun violence deaths.
Data shows a high usage of flavored e-cigarettes among our youth. It's our responsibility as parents to understand the dangers that come from vaping. Our Administration supports the removal of flavored e-cigarettes from stores until they're approved by @US_FDA. #BeBest pic.twitter.com/02O5waTgIj
— Melania Trump (@FLOTUS) September 11, 2019
On top of the aforementioned critical remarks about Trump’s plan to take action against the so-called vaping “epidemic,” Vice warned that a ban on flavored e-juices might result in people seeking alternatives through black market products, which are believed to be responsible for many recent vaping-related hospitalizations.
Although many headlines on Wednesday focused on Trump’s reaction to the perceived vaping problem in the United States, Vice noted that the president was asked by reporters about his plans to expand background checks for would-be firearm buyers. Per the outlet, Trump said that he had spoken to Senators Chris Murphy, Joe Manchin, and Pat Toomey about the matter, as he is working closely with the lawmakers to come up with an “acceptable” resolution on the background check issue. He also suggested that his administration will examine “a lot of different things” before making a decision when he was asked about potential background checks for all private gun sales.
Last week, The Inquisitr wrote that about 450 people were reportedly hospitalized due to vaping-related lung illnesses over the past two months. However, both Vice and Newsweek noted that the number of deaths blamed on e-cigarette usage has risen to a total of six as of Wednesday.