Vaping group plotted lobbying efforts at Trump's DC hotel

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Vaping group plotted lobbying efforts at Trump's DC hotel
Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar looks on as President Donald Trump talks about a plan to ban most flavored e-cigarettes, in the Oval Office of the White House, Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

NEW YORK (AP) — America’s vaping industry has taken its fight to fend off regulation directly to President Donald Trump’s doorstep, with a lobbying group twice booking annual meetings at his Washington hotel and e-cigarette maker Juul hiring two of his former White House officials.

In 2017 and 2018, the Vapor Technology Association met at Trump’s hotel to strategize how to lobby the administration. A Republican lawmaker advised it to emphasize jobs created by the industry and how regulation could devastate hundreds of small vaping businesses.

It all worked until hundreds of breathing problems among users of e-cigarettes led the Trump administration on Wednesday to propose banning flavored e-cigarettes popular with teens.

Ethics experts say such a conflict is an example of why Trump should not do business with those seeking to shape policy.