08.21.20

Following Alarming Reports on COVID-19 Risks from Vaping/Smoking, Baldwin and Colleagues Call for Action from Trump Administration

The Senators’ letter cites a recent Stanford University study that reports that young people who used both conventional and e-cigarettes were almost seven times as likely to be diagnosed with COVID-19 

“The potential for these risks is especially troubling given students may soon be around each other more frequently in many communities, as schools and colleges reopen for in-person learning.”

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), a member of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP), is calling on the Trump administration to take action following troubling reports on the potential increased risk that vaping poses for COVID-19 infection.

The letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar was led by Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Patty Murray (D-WA). The letter was also signed by Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Jack Reed (D-RI), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH).

Specifically, their letter asks the administration:

  • What research has the administration conducted on risks that tobacco and e-cigarettes pose for COVID-19 infection?
  • What is the administration doing to ensure that vaping device manufacturers comply with a September 9th deadline to submit their products to the FDA for required safety reviews?
  • Will the administration revise guidance on flavored e-cigarettes so that all non-tobacco flavors are removed from the market during the FDA’s premarket review?
  • Is the administration using existing research to inform federal guidance to states and schools regarding the risks that vaping poses for COVID-19 infection?

The Senators write, “We write to express our concern about the potential risks that tobacco use, including e-cigarette use or vaping, can pose for COVID-19 infection among our nation’s teenagers and young people. Recent research indicates that the use of such products is linked to substantially higher risk for COVID-19 … The potential for these risks is especially troubling given students may soon be around each other more frequently in many communities, as schools and colleges reopen for in-person learning. We urge you to take steps to better inform the public about potential risks, while also mitigating those risks through action to reduce use of these products among young people.”

The full letter is available here.