LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -- President Donald Trump is set to make a big announcement that may shake up the vaping industry. He hinted at a couple of new restrictions including possibly raising the age limit to buy vape products and banning flavored vapes.
“We’re going to be coming out with a very important position on vaping,” the president said. “We have to take care of our kids, most importantly, so we’re going to have an age limit of 21 or so.”
This comes after 39 deaths and more than 2,000 illnesses reported across the country. The CDC narrowed down the cause of the outbreak to THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, and Vitamin E oil, which are not supposed to be in vape products.
“It’s a scary time, it's honestly a scary time,” Erika Pearce said. “I don't know how the industry will come back from this.”
Vape users rallied outside the White House on Saturday to speak against a possible proposal coming from the president.
“Even more so from President Trump, we'd like to know if flavors are going to be banned,” Pearce said. “If they are going to be banned and we're going to go out of business, we all have commercial leases, we all have employees, it's about to be the holidays, we need to know.”
Flavored vape products make up 99% of what Pearce sells and 100% of what she makes.
“Nobody wants to vape tobacco, that's gross,” she said. “So if you stop smoking, you don't want to go back and vape something that tastes like a cigarette.”
Pearce said the industry took a big hit when vaping-related deaths and illnesses started popping up across the country.
“The public perception has been so damaging,” Pearce said.
Pearce said she knew from the start, the problem wasn’t products sold at vape shops.
“The products that are mixed badly that are getting everybody sick are not what we would consider vaping or e-cigarette products,” she said. “They're black market, THC cartridges, some people would call them dab pens or weed pens.”
But even the potential link was enough for Trump to step in. He hinted at raising the age limit for e-cigarette sales to 21.
“Nobody wants to see kids vape, the industry doesn't, the government doesn’t,” Pearce said.
She’s on board with that change, but she’s not sure it will fix everything that has unfolded in the last few months.
“Will that affect these deaths? Not at all,” she said. “These deaths are not being caused by the nicotine products. They're being caused by the THC black market street products.”
The CDC recommends people should not use vaping products that contain THC, especially from informal sources like friends, family or online dealers.
In Clark County, the Southern Nevada Health District reported four people have gotten sick from vaping-related illnesses. Of the four cases, three vaped THC products and one was nicotine only, though it was not known where the nicotine product was purchased.
The SNHD does not consider vaping to be a safe alternative to traditional smoking.