After Seventh Death Related To Vaping, Durbin Reacts On Senate Floor, Calls For Action

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) today spoke on the Senate floor following yesterday’s report that a seventh person had died due to a vaping-related illness, this time in California. Last week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced it would imminently ban all non-tobacco flavored e-cigarettes, including mint and menthol.  Durbin urged the FDA to act quickly and not delay the removal of e-cigarette flavors – such as mint, menthol, unicorn milk, bubblegum, and razzelberry – from the market. He also urged the Surgeon General to develop and launch a national strategy to educate, prevent, and respond to the youth e-cigarette epidemic.

“After years of inaction and a lot of telephone calls and letters and meetings, the Food and Drug Administration has done the right thing. I hope by the end of this year that these flavors will be off the shelf, and I hope that the Food and Drug Administration truly enforces what they announced last week,” Durbin said.

Video of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor are available here.

Audio of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor is available here.

Footage of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor is available here for TV Stations.

Durbin’s letter to the Surgeon General is available here.

The CDC has reported 380 confirmed and probable cases of severe lung illness linked to vaping across 36 states, including seven deaths (Illinois, Oregon, Indiana, California (2), Minnesota, and Kansas).

Illinois has 52 confirmed cases of vaping-related lung disease – with 12 more cases under investigation – and one reported death from vaping-related illness.  The median age of vaping-related lung disease in Illinois is 22 years old, with the youngest reported victim being 15 years old. 

According to the most recent public health data from CDC, America has seen a 32 percent increase over the last year alone in the number of high-school children using e-cigarettes – with five million teens currently vaping.  This alarming increase comes on top of a 78 percent increase in the number of high-school children using e-cigarettes between 2017 and 2018, and a 48 percent increase in the number of middle-school children using these addictive and dangerous products during that time.

In March, Durbin and Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), along with U.S. Representatives Diana DeGette (D-CO-01) and Jamie Raskin (D-MD-08), reintroduced bipartisan, bicameral legislation to crack down on kid-friendly flavorings in highly-addictive e-cigarettes and cigars.  The Stopping Appealing Flavors in E-Cigarettes for Kids (SAFE Kids) Act will place strong restrictions on e-cigarette flavorings and ban cigar flavorings altogether.

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