Friday, April 19, 2024

The Politician and the E-Cigarette


U.S. Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Ill., sent a letter Dr. Stephen M. Hahn, the commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), requesting that all e-cigarette products be removed from the market in light of the COVID-19 pandemic

Krishnamoorthi wrote his letter, citing a new study released in the Journal of Adolescent Health, which covers the results of an online national survey of teenagers and young adults, aged from 13 to 24 years, set out through May of 2020. Key results indicate that among this sample, a COVID-19 diagnosis was very likely for the users of just e-cigarettes—at least five times more likely. Dual users are seven times more likely.

“The science is now in: e-cigarette users are much likelier to be diagnosed with COVID-19 and to experience symptoms,” wrote Krishnamoorthi to Hahn. “While we are not writing today to address the safety of e-cigarettes for adult smokers following the deadly spread of COVID-19, it is evident that the youth vaping epidemic has combined forces with the Coronavirus pandemic, creating a much deadlier foe that demands FDA action.”

He further requests of Hahn: “In view of this national study proving our worst fears, I respectfully reiterate my call on FDA to clear the market of all e-cigarettes for the duration of the coronavirus crisis. It is the only responsible path forward.”

The good representative cites a study as the “seminal” scientific proof behind the harm spectrum introduced by vaping and cigarette use among youth during the COVID-19 pandemic. Vaping and smoking can irritate the lungs and further exacerbate the opportunity to contract a potentially deadly respiratory disease like the novel coronavirus disease. However, there’s still no justification to lobby for policies that would directly impact the health of adult users who use smoke-free products like e-cigarettes to keep from smoking cigarettes—especially when the science isn’t necessarily “settled.”

if more public health activists had embraced e-cigarettes instead of opposing them and more smokers had been encouraged to switch, there would be less mortality from COVID-19 today.

My friends at Inside Sources (where I am also a contributor) interviewed Boston University School of Public Health’s Michael Siegel, a professor of community health sciences and a physician trained in preventative medicine. Siegel told them that anti-tobacco harm reduction messaging impacts the ability and the credibility of public health institutions working to counter the rapid pace of the novel coronavirus disease.

“It’s absolutely true that if more public health activists had embraced e-cigarettes instead of opposing them and more smokers had been encouraged to switch, there would be less mortality from COVID-19 today,” Siegel said in his Inside Sources interview.

This is a profound belief.

My mind is easily unsettled, though. It has been a very long-time since I graced the pages of Vaping Post through the written word. The events of the world have seen a catastrophic turn, especially concerning the state of the economy.

Barring these over-politically charged times, we are stuck dealing with the coming eve of the Food and Drug Administration’s premarket tobacco applications regulatory pathway deadline of September 9, 2020. This is already an extension of a deadline that was made for May 12 of this year, per an order from a federal magistrate.

The U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, however, changed the May 12 deadline permitting the FDA and numerous e-cigarette and vapor product manufacturers a few more months to attempt to comply with the mandates of the court and the Tobacco Control Act of 2009. The act, naturally, gave the FDA power to regulate all types of consumer products that contain nicotine and tobacco, including alternatives to combustible cigarettes like vaporizers, snus, and heat-not-burn devices like IQOS.

I digress, though. Considering the number of challenges facing the overall industry, we need to be prepared for a crisis. But, I am but one person to say such things.

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