As state and federal officials continue to grapple with the recent spate of health issues related to vaping, Sen. Bob Menendez today released his recommendations to help curb vaping use, especially among teens.
“The fruity flavors. The catchy colors. The promoted tweets and Instagram ads. The false claims vaping is safe. Enough is enough,” said Sen. Menendez. “The truth is we don’t know if it’s a single substance being vaped or a cocktail of chemicals being vaped that’s making Americans sick. What we do know is that taking another puff from your vape pen is not worth the risk of winding up on a ventilator.”
Standing in front of Ridgewood High School, the Senator laid blame at the feet of the FDA for failing to respond quickly and comprehensively to what the Senator referred to as a public health emergency.
Menendez outlined five specific strategies that he is pursuing at the federal level that he believes will help curb vaping use. He wants the FDA to call for a moratorium on sales and use of all vaping products until they can determine what is causing the illness in users. He also wants to see them crack down on deceptive marketing practices employed by e-cigarette companies, especially marketing that is targeted to teens and young people.
The Senator also called for the closure of a loophole that allows young people in states like New Jersey to skirt over-21 laws by purchasing vapes on the internet, for $500 million to be dedicated to studying the impact of e-cigarettes on young people and for vaping products to be taxed at the same level as traditional tobacco products.
Congressman Frank Pallone, whose Energy and Commerce Committee last month launched an inquiry into electronic cigarette manufacturers, put out a statement today calling e-cigarettes “a major threat to public health in this country.”
“Whether it be vaping-related lung disease that has led to six deaths thus far, seizures or the unknown long-term effects, we cannot ignore the negative impacts that e-cigarette use has on our nation’s health,” said Rep. Pallone. “We also cannot lose a new generation to a lifetime of nicotine addiction.”
The Energy and Commerce Committee will hold an oversight hearing on the public health risks of e-cigarettes on September 25th.