Chairwoman Lowey Statement at Hearing on Emerging Public Health Threat of E-Cigarettes
Congresswoman Nita M. Lowey (D-NY), Chair of the House Appropriations Committee, delivered the following remarks at the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee's hearing on the emerging public health threat of e-cigarettes:
I am very concerned about the increase in reported illnesses related to e-cigarettes and other vaping products, and now up to 26 deaths confirmed, including in my home state of New York.
Additionally, the dramatic increase in use of these products among youth – which in fact represents an epidemic – is alarming. One in four kids is using e-cigarettes, and now a new generation of Americans is hooked on nicotine.
As a member of Congress with a long history of support for anti-tobacco efforts and advocacy for tough regulations on e-cigarettes… as a mother… and as a grandmother… I find it heartbreaking and outrageous that we are at the nexus of two public health crises – vaping-related illnesses and deaths AND a youth vaping epidemic – that were largely avoidable.
In my role as Chairwoman of the House Appropriations Committee, I have consistently opposed tobacco industry efforts to weaken FDA’s enforcement of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act. I supported this committee’s increase for the CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health in Fiscal Year 2019 and support a further increase in FY 2020. This is particularly important now given the current outbreak in illnesses and deaths related to e-cigarettes and other vaping products.
I urge the CDC to continue its vital laboratory research and investigatory efforts to get to the bottom of the ongoing outbreak, and to update the public on the serious health risks associated with these products. I know how important it is that the CDC receives adequate funding to do this work.
The advocacy community must also remain vigilant in helping to communicate to the public the risks of these products.