Norquist Says Vaping ‘Freedom’ Is Costing Democrats Votes

Steve Birr | Vice Reporter

Vaping issues affecting thousands of small businesses and users trying to quit smoking are costing the Democratic Party voters, according to Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform.

Norquist, appearing on Vice News Monday, argued that regulatory and tax issues surrounding e-cigarettes are helping the Republican Party connect with longtime Democratic voters. Vapers often feel persecuted by federal agencies and Democratic lawmakers in localities throughout the country, who push for high taxes and restrictions that mimic traditional tobacco bans, reports Gizmodo.

Norquist says he has “met with lifelong Democrats who said, ‘until this vaping is freed up from government threat, I’m voting with the Republicans because the D’s just don’t get it on this issue.'” He argues that, for the consumer, vaping represents “freedom,” albeit “heavily taxed freedom.”

“Vapers care so much about it and the government’s screwing with them,” Norquist said, according to Gizmodo. “I work with groups and individuals that are being picked on by the government or the government is messing with them, whether they’re raising their taxes or pushing around in their business, their professional life.”

While some Democrats, like Georgia Rep. Sanford Bishop, support policies that safeguard vaping businesses from government threat, the bulk take an adversarial stance towards the industry. New York Democratic Rep. Nita Lowey said during a July 20 meeting of the House Appropriations Committee that the devices are “geared toward getting children hooked on nicotine with flavors.”

Former smokers note that flavored vaping products are key to quitting because they help the user disassociate from the taste of tobacco, and data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that youth vaping rates are in decline.

Surprisingly, Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb announced Friday that they are pushing off the deadline to comply with the FDA’s contentious “deeming rule” from Aug. 8, 2018 to Aug. 8, 2022. The decision gives the vaping industry some much needed breathing room from the nearly constant barrage of taxes and restrictions across the country.

Gottlieb stressed that the FDA wants to encourage the “development of innovative tobacco products that may be less dangerous than cigarettes,” as part of a larger strategy to reduce smoking rates in the U.S. The FDA will also attempt to reduce the levels of nicotine allowed in traditional cigarette products.

A spokesman for the White House told The Daily Caller News Foundation Monday that President Donald Trump “supports the FDA’s new initiative,” and noted it as an example of his administration’s efforts to give relief to small businesses across the country.

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Steve Birr

Vice Reporter

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