Subcommittee Urges NIH to Allocate Grant Funding to Research Long-Term Health Effects of E-Cigarettes

Oct 1, 2019
Press Release

Washington, D.C. (Oct. 1, 2019)—Today, Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy, sent a letter to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) urging the agency to increase support for research into the long-term health effects of electronic cigarette usage.

“Life threatening lung injuries caused by vaping may have killed and injured hundreds of Americans, while clever marketing and flavored products have induced epidemic numbers of teens to start using e-cigarettes,” wrote Chairman Krishnamoorthi.  “Action by NIH now to support more scientific research into the risks associated with e-cigarette usage and vaping could save countless lives.”

The Journal of Clinical Investigation recently published an NIH-funded study, “Electronic Cigarettes Disrupt Lung Lipid Homeostasis and Innate Immunity Independent of Nicotine.”  The study found that e-cigarette aerosol disrupted lung function and raised the risk of viral infections, like influenza, in mice.  These results did not depend on the presence of nicotine in the e-cigarette aerosol.  Even mice that were exposed to aerosolized liquid containing only propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin—solvents commonly used across all e-cigarettes—experienced these effects. 

“I strongly urge the NIH to allocate new research grants and to announce the availability of supplements to current grants to fund research into the human health impact of vaping,” wrote Chairman Krishnamoorthi. “Strong scientific research into the long-term health risks of vaping is needed now by government, physicians and consumers; lives depend on it.”

On September 24, 2019, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Principal Deputy Director, Dr. Anne Schuchat, testified before the Subcommittee that the process of vaping itself may be risky and that not enough is known about the aerosol that vaping produces or its potential to negatively affect the lungs. 

The CDC has warned the public to “consider refraining from using e-cigarette, or vaping, products,” as the CDC is unable to rule out any brand, flavor, or component chemical as a cause of lung illness.  Dr. Schuchat also refused to rule out the process of vaping itself as a contributing factor to the outbreak.  

The CDC has identified 805 cases of lung illness associated with the use of e-cigarette products in 46 states and one U.S. territory thus far. 

Click here to read today’s letter.

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116th Congress