A lawmaker from Illinois is calling for a temporary ban on electronic cigarettes in light of new research suggesting that teens and young adults who vape are five times more likely to be diagnosed with the novel coronavirus than non-users, a potential risk that jumps even higher for e-cigarette users who also smoke combustible cigarettes (dual-users). Earlier this week, Raja Krishnamoorthi, Chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives’ Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy, sent a letter to the FDA commissioner, requesting that the agency temporarily remove e-cigarette products from the market based on this new evidence. If you or someone close to you has suffered a serious injury or side effect that you believe to be related to e-cigarette use, it is in your best interest to seek help from a qualified product liability lawyer. Call us today to find out if you are eligible to file a claim against the company responsible for manufacturing the e-cigarette product that allegedly caused your injuries.
In his letter to the FDA, dated August 11, 2020, Raja Krishnamoorthi pointed out that he had requested that the FDA temporarily remove e-cigarettes from the market months before this new study was published. “On April 1, 2020, as part of the Subcommittee’s ongoing investigation into the youth vaping epidemic, I presented the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) with the results of early studies indicating that coronavirus presents greater risks to e-cigarette users, and I called on the FDA to clear the market of all e-cigarettes, temporarily, for the duration of the coronavirus crisis,” the letter states. According to Krishnamoorthi, the FDA declined that initial request, citing the need for additional evidence showing that vaping is a risk factor for COVID-19. “Today, we have the evidence that the FDA was waiting for, and it can no longer deny the danger e-cigarettes pose during the coronavirus crisis.”
The evidence Krishnamoorthi is referring to is a new study published in the Journal of Adolescent Health on August 11. In order to assess whether youth e-cigarette and cigarette use are associated with COVID-19 symptoms, testing and diagnosis, researchers from Stanford University and the University of California, San Francisco, conducted an online nationwide survey of teens and young adults between the ages of 13 and 24 in May 2020. According to the survey results, COVID-19 diagnosis was five times more likely among users of e-cigarettes only, seven times more likely among dual-users and 6.8 times more likely among past 30-day dual-users. The researchers also found that COVID-19 testing was nine times more likely among past 30-day dual-users and 2.6 times more likely among past 30-day e-cigarette only users. Moreover, symptoms of COVID-19 were 4.7 times more likely among past 30-day dual-users.
E-cigarettes and vape pens are becoming more and more popular among adolescents, many of whom see the products as a safer alternative to smoking combustible cigarettes. Unfortunately, what many regular vapers don’t realize is that e-cigarettes have been linked to a host of potential health risks, including respiratory problems, cardiac issues and teen nicotine addiction. We know that e-cigarettes have the potential to harm human health and expose teens and young adults to a lifetime of nicotine addiction, but information about the potential link between e-cigarette use and COVID-19 has been limited during the ongoing pandemic. Based on these new findings, however, it seems likely that adolescents who vape may have a significantly increased risk of being diagnosed with and experiencing symptoms of the novel coronavirus. “COVID-19 is associated with youth use of e-cigarettes only and dual use of e-cigarettes and cigarettes, suggesting the need for screening and education,” the researchers concluded.
“While we are not writing today to address the safety of e-cigarettes for adult smokers following the deadly spread of COVID-19,” Krishnamoorthi’s letter states, “it is evident that the youth vaping epidemic has combined forces with the Coronavirus pandemic, creating a much deadlier foe that demands FDA action.” In light of this new research, Krishnamoorthi and the Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy is calling for the FDA to remove all e-cigarette products from the market for the duration of the coronavirus pandemic. According to the letter, the FDA has until August 18 to confirm, in writing, whether or not the agency will comply with this request and, assuming that it will, provide details about how the agency plans to go about doing so.