An Illinois Senator slammed the E-cigarrette industry on the floor of the Senate today after the death of the 6th person linked to vaping. Senator Dick Durbin amped up his attacks on the e-cigarrette giant JUUL and asked acting commissioner of the Food and Drug Adminstration Dr. Ned Sharpless to take action to regulate e-cigarrettes, vaping flavors, and associated products.
“It’s a new school year, and many of these students are heading off to middle schools and high schools with new backpacks, new laptops, new lockers, new teachers, new classrooms, new friends, and a new addiction. The addiction of vaping. Vaping targets kids,” Durbin said. “Will [FDA] go the next step in warning America’s schools, teachers, families, and children about this epidemic and the deadly consequences of ignoring it? Will they take these products off the market this week? That’s my challenge to them and every American parent who dearly loves their child and cares about their health; I hope [they] will join me in this effort urging this Administration to take decisive action to protect the kids across America.” Durbin said that the flavors are hardly targets to hardened, addicted cigarette smokers with all of the appealing flavor names.
Yesterday, the American Medical Association issued a warning to the public to stop using e-cigarette products until health officials further investigate and understand the causes of these illnesses. Further, the AMA called on FDA to immediately ban e-cigarette flavors and remove all unapproved vaping devices from the market. Durbin sent a letter to Sharpless last week to act on the problems within a 10-day time frame or else resign from the post. The Centers for Disease Control have confirmed 6 deaths in the country, with 1 coming in Illinois, related to vaping. Many of the cases are supposedly linked to vaping cannabis-dosed flavors. In March, Durbin along with other legislators introduced the Stopping Appealing Flavors in E-Cigarettes for Kids or (SAFE Kids) Act. The FDA announced last week that it was going to stop JUUL from advertising that it was a safe alternative to cigarette smoking. Durbin said that the idea of banning the flavors makes sense. He says that young consumers are paying more attention to the “experience” rather than what they actually ingesting. He believes that the e-cigarette manufacturers are doing the same thing that the cigarette companies did years ago in that they are hoping to addict young consumers to profit off of their problems.
President Donald Trump said he plans to bypass the Food & Drug Administration ruling period and plans to place a ban on sale of non-tobacco flavored e-cigarettes amid the growing problem. To date, Illinois has 42 confirmed cases of vaping-related lung illness, and one death, across 17 different counties, with 26 more cases being investigated as probable. The median age of vaping-related illness in Illinois is 22 years old. 76 percent of the Illinois patients needed to be placed in an intensive care unit, and 41 percent of the patients were mechanically ventilated.