Earlier this year, U.S. lawmakers crafted and passed a new policy that banned certain e-cigarette products that were popular with America’s youth. Now, regulators are asking for more e-cigarette products to be taken off the market -- but for a very different reason.
Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL) sent a letter to FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen M. Hahn this week to request that e-cigarette products be pulled from circulation due to additional risks they create in connection with the coronavirus. In the letter, Krishnamoorthi cites studies that suggest COVID-19 is even more dangerous for e-cigarette smokers.
“Today, we have the evidence that the FDA was waiting for, and it can no longer deny the danger e-cigarettes pose during the coronavirus crisis. The science is now in: e-cigarette users are much likelier to be diagnosed with COVID-19 and to experience symptoms,” Krishnamoorthi stated.
Increased risk of infection
The evidence that the letter refers to is from a study conducted at Stanford University that gauged the risk of contracting COVID-19 in young e-cigarette smokers aged 13 to 24. The results suggest that this demographic is up to five times more likely to contract COVID-19 than those who don’t vape e-cigarette products.
The statistics are even worse for those who vape e-cigarettes and smoke traditional cigarettes. These dual users were almost seven times more likely to be diagnosed with COVID-19 and nearly five times more likely to experience symptoms of the virus. Krishnamoorthi says that these numbers are putting a considerable burden on the nation’s COVID-19 testing system and leading to increased waiting times for results.
“If we reduce the number of vapers in America, we will reduce the unnecessary stress we are putting on our testing system. People should not have to wait weeks for COVID-19 test results -- removing the risk posed by vaping will help,” he said.
The letter asks the FDA to confirm in writing within the next week whether or not will take e-cigarettes off the market. If the agency chooses to do so, it is also tasked with providing a description of its action plan.