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Oversight Subcommittee Hearing Examined Outbreak of E-Cigarette-Related Lung Disease

Sep 25, 2019
Press Release

Washington, D.C. (Sept. 25, 2019)—Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy, held a hearing entitled, “Don’t Vape: Examining the Outbreak of Lung Disease and CDC’s Urgent Warning Not to Use E-Cigarettes” focused on the outbreak of lung illness associated with using e-cigarette products; the causes of the outbreak; the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and state health officials warning against the use of e-cigarettes; and CDC reports that youth use of e-cigarettes has risen again.

TAKEAWAYS

  • Dr. Anne Schuchat, CDC representative, recommended that people should refrain from using any e-cigarettes because, in addition to causing deaths, she fears the lung damage being caused may be permanent. 
  • The CDC does not yet know the cause of the outbreak of lung illness, and made it clear that they cannot rule out any brand of e-cigarette as a contributing factor, cannot rule out the solvents common to all e-cigarettes, and cannot even rule out the chemical process of vaping itself.
  • Ruby Johnson, parent of a child who suffered from lung illness, testified that her child faces the unknown long-term effects of vaping such as continued shortness of breath.
  • The CDC representative testified that for the Trump Administration’s e-cigarette flavor ban to be effective, it must include mint and menthol flavors.
  • Public health experts testified that the chemicals in flavored e-cigarettes could be contributing to the cause of the outbreak, and that flavors lead to youth addiction to nicotine.
  • CDC Principal Deputy Director Dr. Anne Schuchat testified that “As a public health expert and as a leader at the CDC, I can say that we are extremely concerned about flavors, and the role that they play in hooking young people to a life of nicotine.”
  • CDC Principal Deputy Director Dr. Anne Schuchat testified that when CDC updates its findings this week the number of affected individuals “will be much higher” than last week’s report of 530, and that the number of deaths will increase above last week’s report of eight.

WITNESSES

Panel One

Dr. Anne Schuchat
Principal Deputy Director
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Panel Two

Ruby Johnson
Parent

Dr. Ngozi O. Ezike
Director
Illinois Department of Public Health

Dr. Albert Rizzo
Chief Medical Officer
American Lung Association

Vicki Porter
Minority Witness

VIDEOS 

Watch Chairman Krishnamoorthi’s opening statement.
Watch Chairman Krishnamoorthi’s question line.
Watch Rep. Pressley’s question line.
Watch Dr. Ezike’s witness testimony.

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Issues: 
116th Congress