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DeLauro Tells Azar, Sharpless to Take E-Cigarettes Off the Market Amid Lung Illness Outbreak

September 12, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (CT-03) today wrote a letter to Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Acting Commissioner Ned Sharpless urging them to take e-cigarettes amidst an outbreak of lung illnesses. Currently, more than 450 people have fallen ill across 33 states, including Connecticut, and 5 people have died. Late last week, federal health officials asked consumers to consider not using e-cigarette products.

“From when e-cigarettes first came to market until now, FDA has continually shirked its regulatory authority and failed in its mission to protect public health,” wrote DeLauro. “As a consequence, today there are thousands of e-cigarette products on the market without any independent, science-based assessment of their long-term health risks, the safety of their ingredients, or their impact on youth tobacco initiation.”

“Myself, my colleagues in Congress, and public health advocates have been vocal critics of illegal FDA actions that have delayed, and essentially exempted, e-cigarette manufacturers from the premarket review process,” continued DeLauro. “Enough is enough: FDA must immediately enforce existing law and ban the sale of all harmful e-cigarette products that have not undergone a premarket review of their health risks.”

DeLauro serves as Chair of the Appropriations Subcommittee responsible for funding HHS, as well as Vice-Chair of the Appropriations Subcommittee responsible for funding FDA.

A signed copy of DeLauro’s letter can be found here.