Durbin Talks E-Cigarettes, COVID-19 Relief, And Assistance For Afghan Refugees With HHS Secretary

SPRINGFIELD – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) today spoke by phone with Health and Human Services Secretary (HHS) Xavier Becerra about pressing public health priorities, including preventing youth e-cigarette use, addressing trauma and community violence, ensuring frontline hospitals and other health providers receive federal funding to assist with COVID-19 efforts, and the importance of swiftly assisting Afghan refugees with access to health and social services.


In particular, Durbin and Secretary Becerra discussed the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) upcoming September 9 deadline for its review of premarket tobacco product applications.  After years of delays that enabled tobacco and vaping companies to hook millions of kids on their addictive products, the FDA is finally set to apply its public health standard to millions of e-cigarette and other tobacco products to prevent and address the alarming rates of youth e-cigarette use. 


“My friend Secretary Becerra is leading our nation’s effort against many public health challenges, from the COVID-19 response and the toll of gun violence in America, to a refugee crisis and the tobacco industry’s predatory tactics to hook our children,” said Durbin.  “I appreciate Secretary Becerra’s commitment to our vulnerable communities, and using all of the tools at HHS’ disposal to meet this moment.  I will continue to conduct oversight on the FDA’s regulation of tobacco products and will support funding efforts to address our health challenges.”