WASHINGTON (CBS) - The Trump administration is trying to ban all non-tobacco flavored vaping products from the market, President Donald Trump declared during an Oval Office meeting on e-cigarettes.
Trump unexpectedly called reporters Wednesday to the Oval Office, where the president was holding a meeting on e-cigarettes that wasn't on his public schedule. The president said he wants parents to know that his administration is carefully studying e-cigarettes, which have been linked to a number of deaths. The intended move is targeted at dissuading young people from picking up the habit.
"We can't allow people to get sick," he said. "People are dying."
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar then elaborated on plans for the FDA to develop guidelines to remove all e-cigarette flavors except plain tobacco from the market. Azar insisted to reporters that the administration is well within its rights to do this.
Only a day earlier, first lady Melania Trump tweeted out her concern about children vaping, raising eyebrows as to whether the administration might be pursuing something. The first lady was standing at the president's side in the Oval Office on Wednesday.
"I am deeply concerned about the growing epidemic of e-cigarette use in our children," the first lady wrote. "We need to do all we can to protect the public from tobacco-related disease and death, and prevent e-cigarettes from becoming an on-ramp to nicotine addiction for a generation of youth."
It doesn't appear tobacco companies were given a heads-up. When CBS News called one of the major tobacco companies to request a comment, the media affairs official who picked up the phone responded, "Oh, wow."