House lawmakers are upping the pressure on the e-cigarette industry with two hearings looking to rein in vaping and assess its risk as an emerging public health threat.
The House Appropriations Committee and an Energy and Commerce subcommittee have called physicians, parent groups, public health officials and anti-smoking groups to testify Wednesday. The hearings are the latest in a recent wave of congressional scrutiny over the e-cigarette industry amid a teen vaping epidemic and an outbreak of a vaping-related lung disease that’s killed at least 26 people across the U.S.
Public health officials are grappling with a surge in vaping among underaged teens, even as smoking rates have been falling for years. More than 25% of high school students said this year they use e-cigarettes, according to preliminary federal data. The mysterious lung illness has sickened nearly 1,300 people in all but one state. Most cases involve marijuana, though the outbreak has nonetheless heightened alarm around e-cigarettes.
CDC Principal Deputy Director Anne Schuchat will make her third congressional appearance over the past month at the appropriations panel hearing, titled “E-cigarettes: An Emerging Threat to Public Health.” Schuchat will highlight preliminary findings from the CDC’s annual survey showing that most teens who vape use flavored e-cigarettes, according to her written testimony.
Local and state governments are increasingly taking aim at flavored e-cigarettes, which are thought to attract kids to the tobacco products. A number of states, including Michigan, New York, Rhode Island and Washington, have passed emergency bans on them. The Trump administration is also readying its own plan to pull flavored e-cigarettes from shelves.
Angelica LaVito – CNBC – October 16, 2019.