Lawmaker Calls For Temporary Vaping Ban After Study Links E-Cig Use To Increased COVID-19 Risk
Following a new study suggesting teens who vape are at least five times more likely to contract COVID-19, some lawmakers are calling on federal regulators to ban electronic cigarettes temporarily, while the nation and world deal with the deadly pandemic.
On August 11, Raja Krishnamoorthi, chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy, sent a letter (PDF) to the head of the FDA, Commissioner Stephen Hahn, calling on the agency to, at least temporarily, remove vaping products from the market.
“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,” Krishnamoorthi wrote. “The sciences is now in: e-cigarette users are much likelier to be diagnosed with COVID-19 and to experience symptoms.”
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The evidence he was referring to came in the form of a study published on the same day in the Journal of Adolescent Health by researchers from Stanford University.
The researchers conducted a national online survey of adolescents and young adults between the ages of 13 and 24 in May. They looked at users of e-cigarettes only, those who use both e-cigarettes and traditional cigarettes, and those who use neither.
According to the findings, young people who use e-cigarettes are five times more likely to be diagnosed with COVID-19 than those who do not vape. The rate jumped to seven times more likely for those who both vaped and smoked traditional cigarettes.
“COVID-19 is associated with youth use of e-cigarettes only and duel use of e-cigarettes and cigarettes, suggesting the need for screening and education,” the researchers concluded.
Krishnamoorthi first called on the FDA to clear the market of vaping products on April 1, citing preliminary data linking the practice to a higher risk of contracting the novel coronavirus. However, the FDA declined to take action, he says in his letter.
With this new evidence, he has called on the FDA to respond to the subcommittee by August 18 and answer whether it will act to temporarily ban e-cigarettes and similar products, and to provide a plan of how it intends to do so, if the agency decides to act.
The study is just the latest health concern linked to vaping. Other studies have linked the practice to respiratory problems, heart issues, and teen nicotine addiction. The latter has been particularly linked to the leading vaping brand, JUUL.
JUUL Vaping Lawsuits
Previous research has found that Juul e-cigarettes, the leading e-cigarette brand, deliver higher rates of nicotine than most other e-cigarettes, increasing the likelihood of addiction. Another recent study warned that Juul e-cigarettes were designed to have the same chemical and tobacco profile as Marlboro cigarettes, making them equally addictive.
As a result of high levels of nicotine contained in e-cigarettes, there is now an epidemic of vaping and teens addicted to JUUL in the United States, leading to bans on certain flavored products designed to appeal to minors.
A growing number of vaping injury lawsuits continue to be filed against JUUL and the makers of other e-cigarettes, not only involving problems with severe lung damage, but also alleging the products resulted in life-long nicotine addictions and other injuries.
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