HARTFORD, CT - On Monday, in a letter to U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Acting Commissioner Ned Sharpless, U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) urged the agency to take immediate action to stop the sale of products designed to conceal vaping devices by disguising them as smart watches, sweatshirts, phone cases, backpacks, and more.
Preliminary 2019 National Youth Tobacco Survey (NYTS) data has found that just over 25 percent of all high school students report using e-cigarettes in the last 30 days—a 17 percent increase over 2018 use rates. In addition to this rapidly escalating outbreak, there have been 1,479 reported cases of a vaping-related illness that has resulted in lung damage and 33 deaths in 24 states. Blumenthal warns that these new hidden vaping products pose a significant danger as they are marketed at teenagers to allow them to use e-cigarettes without knowledge of parents or teachers.
“Teen e-cigarette use is a public health nightmare that went unnoticed, and continues to go unnoticed, by adults. If FDA fails to take action in this space, once again, by leaving new, easily concealable products unregulated, e-cigarette manufacturers will continue to have the upper hand in innovatively hooking a new generation on nicotine,” wrote Blumenthal.
“Information requests are not enough and reveal the lack of urgency that FDA has in regards to the serious vaping epidemic that is plaguing teens. I ask that you immediately take action to regulate all e-cigarettes and flavored e-cigarettes, and immediately pull these blatantly kid-friendly, concealable products from the market,” Blumenthal added.
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