Subcommittee Chairman Demands FDA Clear Market of E-Cigarettes Amid Coronavirus Pandemic
Washington, D.C. (Apr. 1, 2020)—Today, Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy, sent a letter urging the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to use its authority to clear the market of e-cigarettes for the duration of the coronavirus pandemic and use all available tools to encourage Americans to stop smoking and vaping.
“Allowing e-cigarettes to remain on the market during this period would harm children and adults throughout the country and exacerbate the coronavirus crisis in critical ways,” wrote Krishnamoorthi. “Reducing the number of smokers and vapers that fall ill with coronavirus will not only help them, but the entire health system.”
Earlier this week, FDA asked a federal court to delay by four months its order requiring e-cigarette manufacturers to submit applications to remain on the market by May 12, 2020. The Subcommittee did not oppose this request, but instead asked FDA to take the following steps for the duration of the coronavirus crisis:
(1) use all available tools to encourage Americans to stop smoking combustible cigarettes and using e-cigarettes;|
(2) suspend all approvals of Premarket Tobacco Product Applications; and
(3) commit to immediately clearing the market of all e-cigarettes by prioritizing enforcement against them.
“FDA has both the authority and an obligation to start enforcing the law against all e-cigarettes in order to protect the public health,” added Krishnamoorthi. “Vaping will add to the stress on our hospitals as more people take up intensive care beds and require ventilators and other critical equipment. Eliminating the preventable accelerant of vaping is a public health necessity.”
Hospitals across the country are facing critical shortages in beds, protective and medical equipment, and critical supplies. At the same time, smokers appear much more likely than non-smokers to suffer severe outcomes.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, vaping and smoking present serious risks for coronavirus patients. In addition, a study in the New England Journal of Medicine found that smokers made up twice the percentage of people who needed mechanical ventilation, who sought treatment in an intensive care unit, or who ultimately died.
Click here to read today’s letter.