FDA could ban some e-cigarette flavors next week

They were initially marketed as an alternative to smoking cigarettes, even a way to quit smoking altogether but these days, you might be more likely to see someone puffing on a e-cigarette than actually lighting up.

Use of the devices has skyrocketed especially with young people, according to the FDA.  Preliminary government data shows e-cigarette use rose 77 percent among high schoolers and nearly 50 percent among middle schoolers in 2018.

Now the agency is issuing more than a warning to companies whose pre-packaged flavor cartridges or pods are sold from shelves at gas stations, convenience stores, and online.

A senior official with the Food and Drug Administration told the Washington Post these restrictions on the sale of flavored e-cigs could happen as soon as next week.  

The FDA is expected to stop the sale of fruit and candy-flavored electronic cigarettes in convenience stores and gas stations across the country.  

The FDA said the only exception would be mint and menthol.

Most of the devices, with brand names like Juul and Blu, are between the size of a flash drive and the size of a pen - and pack a big punch.  

One small cartridge can contain as much nicotine as a pack of cigarettes. That's the reason some people think a ban might not make a huge impact on teen usage.

"Probably less would use it, but the people who have been using the Juul since they first popped up, they would still use it because they're definitely addicted,” Taylor Garron told FOX 13 News.

"Stopping the flavors, discontinuing any flavors won't stop the kids from smoking them, if they want to stop the kids from smoking them they should honestly just stop them, period,” Brian Leandre added. “If not, they'll have this problem until they get rid of them."

The restrictions would not impact open tank vaping devices which are available for sale in vape shops.