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Conservative Group On Proposal To Ban Flavored E-Cigarettes


The Trump administration continues to weigh a ban on flavored e-cigarettes and this week met with groups on both sides of the issue. Studies have shown that more than 25% of high school students currently vape, especially flavors like fruit and mint. Liberal groups have aligned with conservative ones, like the Eagle Forum, over this issue. They signed a letter to President Trump asking him to implement the ban without delay. Anne Schlafly Cori is chairman of the Eagle Forum. She joins us from St. Louis. Thanks so much for being with us.

ANNE SCHLAFLY CORI: Thank you for having me.

SIMON: Couple months ago, the president said he wanted the ban. Now he is reportedly wavering because he worries that it could lose jobs in the industry. What's your reaction?

SCHLAFLY CORI: Well, we're talking about the health of children on this case. And if you remember a number of years ago, there was a great public effort to ban Joe Camel because it was advertising - directed at children so that children would get hooked on nicotine. And that is a lifetime - it's basically a tax for the rest of your life once you're hooked on nicotine. So tobacco's a legal substance. And it's legal for adults. But we should not promote and encourage bubblegum flavors to children.

SIMON: What about the argument that banning something often doesn't work, and it certainly doesn't work for teenagers?

SCHLAFLY CORI: Well, there's banning. And then there's whether something is made cool and exciting. And right now vaping is considered cool and exciting. And I think just as it took decades for people to fully understand how harmful smoking is, we should not encourage another generation to be hooked and have to pay so much money for the rest of their lives because they are addicted to this substance.

SIMON: The Americans for Tax Reform and American Conservative Union say that vaping products - they call them, quote, "lifesaving alternatives to cigarettes."

SCHLAFLY CORI: Well, I think it's not a lifesaving alternative for the people whose lungs have been scarred and some who have died because of vaping recently.

SIMON: Is this a surprising coalition to you in some ways?

SCHLAFLY CORI: I think a lot of times there are strange bedfellows in politics. But Eagle Forum always stays on issues. And we do what's best for families. And it's best for young children not to get hooked on products.

SIMON: One of the ideas that came out of Friday's meeting at the White House was a suggestion to raise the minimum age for purchasing e-cigarettes to 21. Would that satisfy your concerns?

SCHLAFLY CORI: I think most people who do get hooked on tobacco products do so under the age of 18. I think 18 or 21 - that is that is a less likely age group to get a lifetime hooked on it. So I think enforcing on 18 is important.

SIMON: Anne Schlafly Cori of the Eagle Forum, thanks so much for being with us.

SCHLAFLY CORI: My pleasure.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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