The FDA is reportedly taking unprecedented action to try and stop the teen vaping epidemic. Under the direction of the Trump administration, it will likely announce a ban on mint, fruit and dessert flavored e-cigarette cartridges as soon as Friday. The ban reportedly will not include the sale of menthol or tobacco flavors.
Insiders told CBS News that President Trump has been hesitant to ban flavored e-cigarettes based on advice that his supporters would react negatively to it. Now anti-vaping activists accuse the administration of siding with e-cigarette companies and the vaping industry.
Matt Myers heads the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. He says banning flavors is good, but leaving menthol and tobacco vaping products on the market is dangerous. "This policy is one that was dictated by the e-cigarette industry," Myers said. "Menthol cigarettes are used by more than half of all kids as they start a product." His group says one-third of all e-cigarette users in the U.S. are middle and high school students, and 97% of kids use flavored pods. President Trump hinted at the ban this week. "We'll be taking it off, the flavors for a period of time-- certain flavors," Trump said. "We're gonna protect our families, we're gonna protect our children and we're gonna protect the industry."
A few months ago, CBS News spoke to 18-year-old Chance Ammirata. His doctor believes his vaping may have contributed to a lung injury.
"I never thought I'd be addicted," Ammirata said. "And I'm sure every other teenager or young adult would say the same exact thing."
The Centers for Disease Control counts more than 2,500 cases of people hospitalized with e-cigarette or vaping associated lung injury and 55 deaths. The CDC says the chemical vitamin E acetate, found in some vaping products, is "closely associated" with the deaths and illnesses.
In August, Tony Dokoupil sat down with then-Juul CEO Kevin Burns, who said the company never intended to target kids to grow the business.
"I've said this before, I'm sorry that their kids are using the product," Burns said. "We never intended for our product to be used by them."
Some vape shop owners worry a ban will also hurt business. Arizona vape shop co-owner Scout Stubbs says she's already expanding to hemp products to offset a drop in sales. "If we just enforce the laws we already have, or maybe beef them up, have some marketing restrictions, there are solutions out there to combat youth usage that don't involve banning adult products," Stubbs said. Myers disagrees. "This is not an issue about jobs, this is an issue about the health of our nation's children," Myers said.
CBS News reached out to the American Vaping Association for comment on this story but have not heard back. Juul, the market leader, declined to comment.
In the past, Juul has said none of its products contain vitamin E acetate.