WASHINGTON -- President Donald Trump says he plans to tackle the teen vaping epidemic and release new rules this week.
The move comes after roughly 2,000 people have died from a rare illness with suspected links to vaping.
“We’re talking about the age; we’re talking about flavors,” Trump said.
He promised to ban flavored vaping products in the past. Now Trump said he also wants to increase the age to legally smoke.
As the Trump administration promises to do something to stop teen vaping, owners of vape shops are uncertain about their futures. Industry leader Juul announced it’s laying off more than 600 people.
“It’s a tough situation for them,” said Mike Hogan with Smoke-Free Alternatives, an advocacy group for vape shop owners. “They started small businesses. They’re going to be put out of business by the federal government.”
Lawmakers say something needs to be done. There’s not more time to waste.
“I think we should take swift action,” said Sen. Tammy Baldwin, a Democrat from Wisconsin. "That is something we don't need to sit around for more information."
Baldwin will hold a hearing with the CDC and FDA on Wednesday to learn what more can be done when it comes to the epidemic.
Kansas school districts aren’t waiting either. Olathe, Blue Valley, Shawnee Mission and DeSoto schools districts have all sued electronic cigarette manufacturer JUUL.
“Vaping is an epidemic, and as community leaders, we’re taking the lead to protect our students and future leaders,” Olathe Public Schools Board of Education President Shannon Wickliffe said after the district filed the suit in September. “The hidden dangers of vaping are triggering a health crisis, and we’re taking action.”
While anti-vape advocates are taking action, vapers are concerned about what Trump’s new rules could mean for them.
Over the weekend, hundreds of people who support vaping protested. They argue vaping products are healthier than smoking.
“We’re not optimistic. We’re going to create a prohibition, a problem, a black market,” Hogan said.
The vaping industry hopes further research and information can prove its products are a solution, not a problem.