“I am deeply concerned about the growing epidemic of e-cigarette use in our children,” the first lady wrote in a statement on Monday, Sept. 9.
“We need to do all we can to protect the public from tobacco-related disease and death, and prevent e-cigarettes from becoming an on-ramp to nicotine addiction for a generation of youth.”
I am deeply concerned about the growing epidemic of e-cigarette use in our children. We need to do all we can to protect the public from tobacco-related disease and death, and prevent e-cigarettes from becoming an on-ramp to nicotine addiction for a generation of youth. @HHSGov
— Melania Trump (@FLOTUS) September 9, 2019
At least five deaths nationwide have been linked to vaping and federal health officials warned people against using e-cigarettes until the probe is complete.
“While this investigation is ongoing, people should consider not using e-cigarette products,” the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention said in a statement.
“People who do use e-cigarette products should monitor themselves for symptoms (e.g. cough, shortness of breath, chest pain, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, fever) and promptly seek medical attention for any health concerns.”
The agency said last week that it’s probing more than 450 cases possibly linked to vaping in more than 33 states.
Cases have also been reported in Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, North Carolina, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Vermont, Wisconsin, and West Virginia.
All of the cases reported to the CDC “have a history of using e-cigarette products,” the agency said.
Experts have warned that many of the samples tested as part of the investigation include Vitamin E acetate, which is typically an ingredient in dietary supplements but has unknown effects when inhaled.
“While the FDA does not have enough data presently to conclude that Vitamin E acetate is the cause of the lung injury in these cases, the agency believes it is prudent to avoid inhaling this substance. Because consumers cannot be sure whether any THC vaping products may contain Vitamin E acetate, consumers are urged to avoid buying vaping products on the street, and to refrain from using THC oil or modifying/adding any substances to products purchased in stores,” the Food and Drug Administration said in a statement.
“Additionally, no youth should be using any vaping product, regardless of the substance.”
— Dr. Ned Sharpless (@FDACommissioner) September 9, 2019
After Melania Trump issued the statement Monday, Dr. Ned Sharpless, acting commissioner of the agency, shared her missive on Twitter.
“We agree with @FLOTUS, and FDA remains committed to using all available tools to ensure that e-cigarettes and other tobacco products aren’t being marketed or sold to kids,” he wrote.
Earlier Monday, Sharpless noted that his agency warned JUUL Labs for marketing unauthorized tobacco products, including in marketing to children.
“Regardless of where products like e-cigarettes fall on the continuum of tobacco product risk, the law is clear that, before marketing tobacco products for reduced risk, companies must demonstrate with scientific evidence that their specific product does, in fact, pose less risk or is less harmful,” he said in a statement. “JUUL has ignored the law, and very concerningly, has made some of these statements in school to our nation’s youth.”