President Trump said he and Melania, just like any concerned parents in today’s world—have spoken to their son Barron who at 13 years of age is at a time in his young life when trying new things is often what teenagers do. And they have advised him, “Don’t vape, we don’t like vaping, I don’t like it,” the president told reporters as he left the White House for Baltimore on Sept. 12. “We haven’t told him anything except ‘Don’t vape,’” said the president when asked if he has discussed the issue with his young son.
The president and Melania were in the Oval Office for a meeting on Sept. 11 with Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, and acting FDA Commissioner Ned Sharpless. “We can’t allow people to get sick and we can’t have our youth be so affected,” “People are dying from vaping, so we’re looking at it very closely.” The president was especially concerned with the effects on our youth,“They’re coming home and they’re saying, ‘mom, I want to vape,’” he said, “and the parents don’t know too much about it.”
Vaping has taken off as an alternative to smoking, and involves inhaling a combination of nicotine, solvents, flavors, and water, and was first seen as a method to help stop smoking. This year in the United States there have been at least 450 cases of lung disease connected to vaping, with six people dying. It has been estimated that in the United States there are 3.6 million teenagers using e-cigarettes, and most likely most have no idea of the dangers associated with vaping. A survey conducted in 2016 determined there are approximately 10 million people in the United States doing vaping, half are under 35 years old, with the 18-24 age group the most frequent users.
The Trump administration is planning to remove some flavors from vaping e-cigarettes to make them less appealing to children. “It’s, again, very new and potentially very bad,” he said. “People think it’s an easy solution to cigarettes, but it’s turned out that it has its own difficulties.”
Melania is also concerned about vaping, “I mean, she’s got a son—together—that is a beautiful young man, and she feels very, very strongly about it,” he said. “She’s seen it. We’re both reading it. A lot of people are reading it. But people are dying with vaping.”
The president is a nonsmoker and nondrinker, and he has raised his children with the same principles. “When my children were growing up, even when they didn’t know what drinking was, I’d say ‘no alcohol, no cigarettes, no drugs,’” Trump recalled at a campaign Town Hall meeting in 2016 when he was asked the question how he protected his children from abusing substances.