Key House panel announces hearing to investigate surge of vaping-related illnesses
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Oversight and Investigations panel, U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO), announced today that it will hold a hearing Wednesday, September 25, as part of its ongoing investigation into the recent surge of vaping-related illnesses that has affected more than 450 people in more than 30 states across the country.
The announcement comes as federal and state health officials across the country continue to search for answers as to what has caused the sudden spike of illnesses – and as Kansas health officials confirmed today the nation’s sixth death linked to the disease.
DeGette, whose panel directly oversees the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), said Tuesday that officials from both the CDC and FDA will be among those called to testify Sept. 25 as the panel investigates the link between e-cigarettes and the recent surge of illnesses.
“This recent surge in vaping-related illnesses shows exactly why more federal regulation of these vaping products is so important,” DeGette said. “No one who uses these products knows what they are inhaling into their bodies, or how it might affect their health. We can, and must, do more to protect the health of the American people. Our committee is determined to find out exactly what is causing these life-threatening illnesses and what needs to be done to prevent them.”
DeGette, who has been among those leading the charge in Congress to increase federal regulation on the use of e-cigarettes, said Tuesday that in addition to investigating the recent spike in vaping-related illnesses, the subcommittee is also looking at the overall health impact of vaping products and their appeal to young people.
Earlier this year, DeGette introduced legislation that would ban the sale of kid-friendly flavored nicotine products used in e-cigarettes, which many experts say has led to the rise in the number of teens now vaping, and which some doctors believe could be linked to the recent spike in illnesses.
DeGette also introduced a separate piece of legislation this year to raise the nationwide smoking age, for both traditional and e-cigarettes, from 18 to 21.
Additional details regarding the Sept. 25 hearing will be sent as they become available.