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Chairman Krishnamoorthi Renews Demand For FDA To Clear The Market Of E-Cigarettes Following Study Finding Young Vapers Are 5 Times More Likely To Catch Coronavirus Than Peers

August 11, 2020
Press Release

SCHAUMBURG, IL – In response to a new study on adolescent vaping, led by Dr. Bonnie Halpern-Felsher of Stanford University and published today in the Journal of Adolescent Health, finding that e-cigarette users are five times more likely to be diagnosed with COVID-19 than non-vapers, Chairman Raja Krishnamoorthi of the Oversight Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy wrote to Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Dr. Stephen M. Hahn, calling on the FDA to clear the market of e-cigarettes for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Chairman Krishnamoorthi first made this call in an April 1st, 2020 letter to the FDA in which he presented early studies indicating that coronavirus presents greater risks to e-cigarette users. Citing what it believed was the need for more definitive evidence of vaping as a COVID-19 risk factor, the FDA declined to act.

“The science is now in: e-cigarette users are much likelier to be diagnosed with COVID-19 and to experience symptoms,” wrote Krishnamoorthi. “This is true in vapers as young as 13, which is particularly concerning, given that young people are increasingly driving the spread of COVID-19, threatening the health and safety of Americans of all ages. 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.”

In her seminal study, Dr. Bonnie Halpern-Felsher demonstrated that in a nation sample of individuals ages 13 to 24, vapers are five times more likely than non-vapers to be diagnosed with COVID-19 and that those who have vaped and smoked combustible cigarettes in the previous month were nearly seven times more likely than non-users to be diagnosed with COVID-19, and almost five times more likely to experience symptoms. Additionally, the study demonstrates that e-cigarette users pose an outsized burden on coronavirus testing resources as the Stanford University-led study found that those who had smoked and vaped in the previous 30 days were nine times more likely to have been tested for COVID-19 than nonusers while those using e-cigarettes alone in the past 30 days were still 2.6 times more likely to have been tested.

In light of this new research, Chairman Krishnamoorthi renewed his call for the FDA to temporarily clear the market of e-cigarettes:

“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 Chairman closed his letter by requesting the FDA confirm, in writing, by August 18, 2020 whether or not the FDA will temporarily clear the market of all e-cigarettes, and assuming it will, to provide a written description of the FDA’s plan to do so.

A copy of Chairman Krishnamoorthi’s letter to FDA Commissioner Hahn is available here.