NEW YORK — A potential U.S. ban on e-cigarette flavors could result in a loss of more than 150,000 jobs and a direct sales hit of $8.4 billion, according to a report released on Friday by a vaping industry trade group.
Two months ago President Trump’s administration announced a sweeping plan to ban all e-cigarette and vaping flavors except tobacco, but a final decision has not been made.
Trump is set to meet with a range of groups, including industry representatives, on Friday to discuss tightening of e-cigarette regulations.
Proponents of the ban have pointed to a dramatic rise in youths vaping, drawn by sweet flavors, and a surge in serious vaping-related illnesses.
More than 27.5 percent of American high school students use e-cigarettes, up from 20.7 percent in 2018, according to a survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
However, e-cigarette companies have opposed the ban, saying their products are not for children and that it would hit several jobs the industry has created.
If a ban on flavored vapes goes through, the majority of 13,480 independent vapor shops in the country would have to close, said the report by economist John Dunham & Associates, which was prepared for the Vapor Technology Association (VTA).
Nearly 92 percent of vaping flavors in the independent distribution chain are those other than tobacco, said the report, adding the ban could also cost $22.4 billion in lost economic activity.
The VTA, with more than 1,000 members, represents e-cigarette makers, as well as retailers and distributors.