Clarksville Online: Senate Health Committee Questions FDA & CDC About Mysterious Lung Illness Tied to E-Cigarette Devices, Injuring Over 2,000 Americans

Posted on November 13, 2019

While the U.S. House of Representatives conducted an impeachment hearing, the Senate health committee today held a bipartisan hearing on the outbreak of lung injuries linked to the use of electronic cigarettes and what federal agencies are doing to prevent youth use of these products.

In his opening remarks at the hearing which featured witnesses from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Senate health committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) asked “why aren’t there any rules in effect about what standards e-cigarettes and vaping products need to meet?”

Alexander continued his line of questions: “What should the FDA be doing to regulate and review these products? There has been a 700 percent increase in the number of teenagers vaping since 2013—what has FDA and CDC done about this surge of teenagers vaping? And how much of the $5.5 billion that the Center for Tobacco Products at FDA has received in user fees over the last decade has been spent on e-cigarettes and vaping?” 

Alexander concluded: “Here is the reality: 13.5 million Americans, including more than 5 million teenagers have reported using e-cigarettes, with 1.6 million teenagers vaping regularly, and these products have not met any FDA rules or standards. And over the last seven months, over 2000 Americans have gotten sick, and 39 have died, from lung illness related to vaping. This is an unacceptable situation that demands our attention.”

“I often suggest that Americans look at Washington, D.C., as if it were a split-screen television and today is a good example. On one side, you have the House of Representatives beginning public impeachment hearings. But on the other side, you have a bipartisan group of senators investigating a mysterious illness tied to the use of e-cigarettes and vaping products that has injured over 2,000 Americans, 39 of which have died, at a time when as many as one in ten Tennessee high school students may be using e-cigarettes illegally.”
— Senator Lamar Alexander

Read Chairman Alexander’s prepared opening statement here.