Today Sen. Dick Durbin made his intentions to ask for the resignation of the current FDA Commissioner if he doesn't ban flavors in e-cigarettes in the next 10 days.
“It is my strong belief that, if you do not take decisive action within the next ten days, you should resign your post. If you continue to refuse to do your job — which is to protect the public health — then it is time to allow someone else to take the helm,” Durbin wrote in a letter to Dr. Sharpless.
This action comes only two days after the Michigan Governor Whitmer announced a ban on all flavors of e-cigarettes in her state. She is declaring a public health emergency to ban all flavoring, because of its perceived appeal to children.
Research seems to show that flavorings are important for adult smokers in the cessation process.
"Adult frequent e-cigarette users in the USA who have completely switched from smoking cigarettes to using e-cigarettes are increasingly likely to have initiated e-cigarette use with non-tobacco flavors and to have transitioned from tobacco to non-tobacco flavors over time. Restricting access to non-tobacco e-cigarette flavors may discourage smokers from attempting to switch to e-cigarettes."
Changing patterns of first e-cigarette flavor used and current flavors used by 20,836 adult frequent e-cigarette users in the USA — Christopher Russell, Neil McKeganey, Tiffany Dickson, Mitchell Nides
San Francisco enacted its own ban of all e-cigarettes in June that goes into effect next year.
In the past months, hundreds of people have been treated, and at least three people have died from a mysterious lung illness that has been associated with marijuana oils.
Politicians and media alike have been quick to associate this with traditional e-cigarettes, many times ignoring or glossing over the likely connection to black market THC cartridges.
The CDC statement on the illness is perplexing. In a press release, the CDC states, "While many of the patients, but not all, reported recent use of THC-containing products, some reported using both THC- and nicotine-containing products. A smaller group reported using nicotine only."
While the statement admits that only "a smaller group reported using nicotine only" it is this industry that the Center warns against. While this investigation is ongoing, people should consider not using e-cigarette products," they say.
These efforts have been met with resistance from the vaping advocacy groups such as Greg Conley, President of the American Vaping Association. In a statement, he said,
“The CDC is playing politics with peoples’ health by not issuing clear and specific warnings about avoiding vaping illegal marijuana oil products, as several state health departments have done. Every day it is becoming more clear that these illnesses and deaths are being caused by THC-containing street vapes, not store-bought nicotine vaping products, yet the CDC is insisting on doubling down on their anti-vaping hysteria. Adult smokers should not be scared off from using store-bought nicotine vaping products to quit smoking.
“If you don’t want to die or end up in a hospital, stop vaping black market THC oils.”
Combustible cigarettes are, of course, linked to around 1,300 deaths every day. However, the bans will only serve to drive more people back to smoking.
According to the CDC, "Cigarette smoking is responsible for more than 480,000 deaths per year in the United States, including more than 41,000 deaths resulting from secondhand smoke exposure. This is about one in five deaths annually, or 1,300 deaths every day. On average, smokers die 10 years earlier than nonsmokers."