Out of concern over who is most at risk because of the coronavirus, Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL) sent a letter to the Food and Drug Administration asking it to clear the market of all electronic cigarettes for the duration of the pandemic.
Krishnamoorthi, the chair of the House Oversight and Reform Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy, said the FDA should use its authority to get vaping products and supplies out of the market place and use all its available tools to encourage Americans to stop smoking and vaping.
“Allowing e-cigarettes to remain on the market during this period would harm children and adults throughout the country and exacerbate the coronavirus crisis in critical ways,” wrote Krishnamoorthi. “Reducing the number of smokers and vapers that fall ill with coronavirus will not only help them but the entire health system.”
At the end of March, the FDA asked a federal court to give e-cigarette manufacturers another four months to submit applications to remain on the market. While Krishnamoorthi’s committee did not oppose the request, it did ask the FDA to use all available tools to encourage Americans to stop smoking combustible cigarettes and using e-cigarettes; suspend all approvals of Premarket Tobacco Product Applications; and commit to immediately clearing the market of all e-cigarettes by prioritizing enforcement against them.
“FDA has both the authority and an obligation to start enforcing the law against all e-cigarettes in order to protect the public health,” added Krishnamoorthi. “Vaping will add to the stress on our hospitals as more people take up intensive care beds and require ventilators and other critical equipment. Eliminating the preventable accelerant of vaping is a public health necessity.”
Krishnamoorthi argued that according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, vaping and smoking increase risks for coronavirus patients. Additionally, a study in the New England Journal of Medicine found that smokers are much more likely than non-smokers to suffer severe outcomes and need ventilators or intensive care.