WASHINGTON, D.C. – Amid the public health crisis surrounding COVID-19, an illness that targets the lungs, the Trump administration gave $876,515 of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) assistance to Healthier Choices Management Corp. — a company whose subsidiaries operate ten vape stores.
In addition to offering financial support to shops selling e-cigarettes, which evidence suggests may have severe impacts on lung health in the short and long term, the administration also gave a hand to an industry that may not need the help. Tobacco and marijuana have proven to be largely recession-proof products, not taking huge dips in sales even in times of serious economic downturn.
And tobacco sellers have even seen an increase in sales amid the COVID-19 crisis — even as more than 100,000 small businesses have been forced to shutter.
“It’s baffling that the Trump administration chose to bail out a company operating vape shops during a respiratory pandemic,” said Derek Martin, spokesman for Accountable.US. “As thousands of small businesses were choked out of the Paycheck Protection Program by well-connected, publicly-traded companies, the Trump administration chose to give nearly $1 million to a corporation selling recession-proof products that may damage people’s lungs.”