Good morning. This is disturbing.
Today's word count is 694 words, or <3 minutes.
Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios
President Trump announced from the Oval Office yesterday that he wants to ban all flavored e-cigarettes — the most aggressive proposal yet from an administration that has already been very aggressive about teen vaping.
Between the lines: Preliminary data shows that youth vaping has continued to rise, especially the use of non-tobacco flavors, the Health and Human Services Department said.
The big picture: Yesterday's announcement would affect mint and menthol, which an earlier proposal left untouched. It would also apply to all e-cigarette sales, not just those in stores.
The other side: "If a federal flavor ban is enacted, more than 10 million adults will be forced to choose between smoking again ... or finding what they want and need on the black market," the Vapor Technology Association said in a statement.
What we're watching: Tobacco flavoring would likely be spared from this initial crackdown, but it may not be safe forever.
Purdue Pharma is very close to a settlement with states, cities, counties and Native American tribes over its role in fueling the opioid epidemic — but part of the settlement puts those governments in an awkward position, my colleague Bob Herman writes.
Driving the news: A major part of the proposed settlement would involve Purdue declaring bankruptcy and the Sackler family members conceding ownership.
The intrigue: The same governments that have alleged Purdue's OxyContin has wreaked havoc on their communities would pocket all future OxyContin profits.
The bottom line: Purdue has threatened to enter bankruptcy regardless of whether this settlement offer is accepted, so some plaintiffs may feel pressured to take what they can get — even if it means they become the beneficiaries of painkiller sales they view to be tainted.
A federal court ruled this week that the Department of Veterans Affairs must reimburse veterans for non-VA emergency care that private insurance doesn't cover, AP reports.
Why it matters: The case was ruled a class action, opening the door to the VA being required to pay back any veteran that it had previously declined to reimburse.
Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios
Chinese researchers used CRISPR technology to safely treat a man with cancer and HIV, Bloomberg reports, a major step forward for the gene editing field.
Why it matters: "The man's medical case, published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine, is the first detailed report in a major academic journal of how doctors are using the experimental tool [CRISPR] to manipulate the DNA of a living patient in an effort to cure disease," Bloomberg writes.
Flashback: Last year, a different Chinese scientist used the technology to create the first gene-edited babies, sparking massive global backlash. Even before that, there were plenty of questions about how CRISPR should be used.
The latest update in the fight over patients' drug data could make it a lot harder for PillPack to access patients' medication history, CNBC reports.
Why it matters: To get patients' data, PillPack will now have to call either the patient or their doctor, which the company says may lead to errors.
The big picture: SureScripts' owners include CVS and ExpressScripts, major health care industry players that have a lot to lose if tech companies successfully become players in the health care space.
Go deeper: The monopolization of patient drug data