US First Lady Melania Trump has voiced alarm over the dangers of vaping and the high usage of e-cigarettes among America’s youth. She shared statistics showing the growing popularity of e-smoking on Twitter, marking the post with the hashtag “Be Best”.
“Our Administration supports the removal of flavoured e-cigarettes from stores until they're approved by the US FDA [US Food and Drug Administration]”, the first lady tweeted.
Data shows a high usage of flavored e-cigarettes among our youth. It's our responsibility as parents to understand the dangers that come from vaping. Our Administration supports the removal of flavored e-cigarettes from stores until they're approved by @US_FDA. #BeBest pic.twitter.com/02O5waTgIj— Melania Trump (@FLOTUS) September 11, 2019
However, reactions to her call for raising awareness of vaping were split. Some stood up for those who enjoy exhaling clouds of flavoured steam and the e-cigarette sellers.
I own an ecig shop.. We are trying to do the right thing.— Stephen Yarger (@OhioBAMF) September 11, 2019
Leave vaping to the vape stores.
I care about my health, community and customers.
The guy at the gas station doesn't.
Let us help our community kick smoking. Let us do this the right way please.
I think what we need is more good guys with vape pens— d_mcc (@d_mccarthy37) September 12, 2019
Many seemed to insist that the problem of smoking guns is more acute than the spread of vaping.
What is "our responsibility as parents" to the thousands of gun violence victims?— John Pavlovitz (@johnpavlovitz) September 12, 2019
I wish you’d get as excited about gun violence. You know—they have stats and charts, too, I mean, like, if you need pictures.— Robert Arleigh White (@robertarleigh) September 11, 2019
Firearms are the second leading cause of death among American children and adolescents, after car crashes. Firearm deaths occur at a rate more than three times higher than drownings. The United States has had 1,316 school shootings since 1970. #BeBest #GunControlNow pic.twitter.com/a87e5z7flx— Lesley Abravanel (@lesleyabravanel) September 12, 2019
Data shows that there have been more mass killings under your husband’s presidency than any other ever.— DADDY ICE (@DaddyIce2) September 11, 2019
But the guns are cool still?— Michelle 🤓 ☮️🌈🗽🌮🐔🐱👭 (@ChickenRN) September 12, 2019
It’s good to know that the kids will have healthy lungs when they get shot at school.— Noway (@whywtfwhy) September 12, 2019
However, some sided with the first lady, sharing concerns about e-cigarettes.
They should have done the correct research before launching the sales to the world! Just like the big pharmaceutical cos. Monsanto & the FDA! Evil all of them !! All about the $ not lives! 😥— Cynthia Rayford (@Cynthiao47) September 11, 2019
I smoke cigarettes. Honestly I wish they too were illegal. This is a great move Mrs. President— Cathy (@Cathy23528427) September 11, 2019
Slovenian-born Melania Trump, mother of Donald Trump’s 12-year-old son Barron, formally introduced her public awareness initiative called “Be Best” in May 2018. The campaign aims to shine a light "on the many issues facing children today — one of them being the safe and responsible use of social media”.
Although her message likely came from a good place, netizens weren't exactly cheering her on, especially considering her husband’s reputation as an online bully, as some media outlets have highlighted. Melania Trump has fought back against her critics on several occasions.
During a Family Online Safety Institute conference last November, Melania Trump defended herself against attempts to ridicule her campaign, which is aimed at combatting aggressive behaviour online. She also expressed hope that people would “consider using their negative words as motivation to do all you can to bring awareness and understanding about responsible online behaviour". However, her response to the criticism only triggered another barrage of online roasting.