KNOXVILLE, Tenn. The state of Tennessee now reports 10 cases of lung illnesses connected to vaping.
Knoxville Vapor employee vapes in the store
Doctors are sounding the alarm, while vape shops are worried about the future. The federal government announced it will seek to ban flavors used in e-cigarettes.
This ban could affect nearly 11 million adults who them-that's about 1 in 20 Americans.
Vape shop owners are worried about what's in store.
"I started smoking when I was 13-years-old. I found vaping when I was 43-years-old. I smoked Marlboro Reds for 30 years," said Terri Livezey, owner of Knoxville Vapor.
Terri makes her living on selling vape hardware and e-fluids.
"We're small mom and pop shops. We're not big tobacco. We're not big vape," she said. "Our customers come in and they like fruity flavors. They like desserty flavors."
She and her husband opened Knoxville Vapor six years ago. And they actually have a different approach. Terri said they don't sell their nicotine products to anyone who isn't already smoking.
That's because their goal is to try to help people quit or decrease how much nicotine they ingest.
"We're passionate about helping people stop smoking."
But that could change if President Trump bans flavored e-fluids.
"What would you do if flavors went away," Terri asked a customer.
"I'd buy a pack of Marlboros," the woman responded.
"With over 8,000 flavors on the market those are going to be products that are going to be pulled from the shelves that would not be able to be sold," said Kerri Thompson, a health educator in tobacco use, prevention and control with the Knox County Health Department explained.
"Nobody wants to use tobacco flavors to stop smoking tobacco," said Terri.
But President Trump may have other plans.
"It's fairly clear that the president through the FDA has the authority to do these sorts of things," explained Stewart Harris, a law professor at LMU, "I would be stunned if this happened in less than two years."
But Terri is concerned.
"We would struggle to survive," said Terri.
"There's no need to panic right now because this is going to be a lengthy process," said Stewart.
"I will tell you we we'll fight as long and as hard as we can to make sure that we are still here for our customers," said Terri.
The straight tobacco e-cigarette would remain on the market.
The issue is affecting Knox County Schools, too.
KCS said since the start of the school year, 27 vape pens were confiscated at schools.
Four of those at middle schools, the rest at high schools.
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