Illinois congressman calls for federal ban on electronic cigarettes, citing study that shows link to COVID-19

Under the Obama and Trump administrations, the FDA has taken years to regulate electronic cigarettes. The agency announced its authority over electronic nicotine delivery systems, or ENDS, as it calls them, in 2016. In January this year, the FDA banned fruit- and mint-flavored e-cigarettes, but allowed menthol and tobacco flavors.

The FDA has declared an “epidemic” of youth e-cigarette use, and took action against more than 1,300 retailers and five manufacturers it blamed for perpetuating youth access. It is just now approaching a Sept. 9 deadline for businesses to submit Premarket Tobacco Product Applications for approval of e-cigarettes deemed “appropriate for the protection of public health.”

The FDA wrote in a statement that cigarette smoking suppresses the immune system and increases the risk of respiratory infections, so smokers may be at increased risk of COVID-19. Whether e-cigarette use does so as well, the FDA said, is not known.

E-cigarette makers maintain that they help many smokers quit or reduce use of combustible cigarettes, thereby eliminating the tar and other products that make tobacco use the single largest preventable cause of death and disease in the United States.

Gregory Conley, president of the industry-funded American Vaping Association, noted that the study found no significant association between COVID and current users who vaped in the past 30 days, which he said undercuts the argument that occasional use in the distant past may play a role. He also cited a recent study in the British Medical Journal of 8 million patients that found that those who smoked were, surprisingly, less likely to get COVID-19.



August 13, 2020 at 02:14PM

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