Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar announced Wednesday that the Food and Drug Administration is finalizing plans to pull all flavored e-cigarette cartridges from the market, leaving only the tobacco flavor, in an effort to discourage youth vaping.

Why it matters: The non-tobacco flavors — including mango, fruit and mint — are at the center of a dramatic rise in youth vaping that has schools and parents on widespread alert.

Timing: Azar met with President Trump and acting FDA commissioner Norman Sharpless at the White House on Wednesday morning to finalize the details of the potential ban.

Worth noting: Juul, one of the most popular e-cigarette brands, has already stopped selling flavored cartridges in retail stores that do not ask for age verification, but still sells several flavors online and in smoke shops.

What they're saying per a Juul spokesperson: "We strongly agree with the need for aggressive category-wide action on flavored products. We will fully comply with the final FDA policy when effective."

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The apocalypse scenario

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Democratic lawyers are preparing to challenge any effort by President Trump to swap electors chosen by voters with electors selected by Republican-controlled legislatures. One state of particular concern: Pennsylvania, where the GOP controls the state house.

Why it matters: Trump's refusal to commit to a peaceful transfer of power, together with a widely circulated article in The Atlantic about how bad the worst-case scenarios could get, is drawing new attention to the brutal fights that could jeopardize a final outcome.

Federal judge rules Trump administration can't end census early

Census workers outside Lincoln Center in New York. Photo: Noam Galai/Getty Images

A federal judge ruled late Thursday that the Trump administration could not end the 2020 census a month early.

Why it matters: The decision states that an early end — on Sept. 30, instead of Oct. 31 — would likely produce inaccuracies and thus impact political representation and government funding around the country.

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
2 hours ago - Health

Where bringing students back to school is most risky

Data: Coders Against COVID; Note: Rhode Island and Puerto Rico did not meet minimum testing thresholds for analysis. Values may not add to 100% due to rounding; Cartogram: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Schools in Southern and Midwestern states are most at risk of coronavirus transmission, according to an analysis by Coders Against COVID that uses risk indicators developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The big picture: Thankfully, schools have not yet become coronavirus hotspots, the Washington Post reported this week, and rates of infection are lower than in the surrounding communities. But that doesn't mean schools are in the clear, especially heading into winter.

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