Lung Illnesses Related to E-Cigarettes Underscore Urgent Need to Regulate these Products

Statement of Matthew L. Myers, President, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
August 23, 2019

WASHINGTON, DC – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported today that it is now investigating 193 possible cases of severe and even life-threatening lung illnesses associated with e-cigarette use in 22 states, primarily among teens and young adults. The state of Illinois reported the first death that may be from a respiratory illness caused by an e-cigarette, involving an adult.

It is unacceptable that thousands of e-cigarette products are currently on the market in the United States with absolutely no FDA review of their health risks and no controls over what is in these products or what users are inhaling into their lungs. We are paying the price for allowing the public, especially kids, to be guinea pigs in a giant experiment by a predatory industry. These incidents underscore why the FDA should be reviewing e-cigarettes and determining their health impact before they are allowed on the market, and why the FDA should act as quickly as possible to review products now on the market. That is what the law requires. The FDA and other policy makers must also do everything possible to curb the epidemic of youth e-cigarette use, starting with a ban on all flavored products.

It is important to note that these vaping-related illnesses are occurring at the same time that e-cigarette manufacturers are continuing their irresponsible legal battle to delay FDA public health review. We cannot afford more delays that put public health at even greater risk.