Edison, NJ -  Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06) issued a statement in response to the increase of vaping-related deaths and illnesses after Kansas health officials announced last week the latest death associated with an outbreak of serious lung disease related to vaping or using e-cigarettes. 

“It’s clear that e-cigarettes are a major threat to public health in this country. Whether it be vaping-related lung disease that has led to six deaths thus far, seizures or the unknown long-term effects, we cannot ignore the negative impacts that e-cigarette use has on our nation’s health. We also cannot lose a new generation to a lifetime of nicotine addiction,” Mr. Pallone said. 

Last April, Mr. Pallone introduced legislation to address the youth tobacco epidemic. The Reversing the Youth Tobacco Epidemic Act of 2019 would raise the minimum age for purchasing tobacco products to 21 years and makes it unlawful for any retailer to sell a tobacco product to any person younger than 21 years of age. 

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“That’s why earlier this year I not only introduced comprehensive legislation to curb the youth tobacco epidemic, I’ve also launched an investigation into electronic cigarette manufacturers. I am deeply concerned that consumers lack adequate information to evaluate the serious health impacts of these new tobacco products, including e-cigarettes,” said Mr. Pallone. 

Mr. Pallone’s legislation would also prohibit the sale of flavored tobacco products, including menthol.  Last month, Pallone’s Energy and Commerce Committee announced an investigation beginning with letters to five electronic cigarette manufacturers, and on September 25, Pallone’s Committee will hold an oversight hearing on the public health risks of e-cigarettes with officials from the FDA, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state health officials.

Mr. Pallone's statement on vaping related deaths and injuries comes as State lawmakers seek to curb the use of e-cigarettes. Governor Phil Murphy took action on Thursday, by creating the Electronic Smoking Device Task Force,  which will consider options to address electronic cigarette use including: providing warning signs to be posted in stores that sell electronic smoking devices; expanding the State's ability to investigate, track, and monitor any cases of severe pulmonary disease; recommending legislative and regulatory changes needed to protect young people from electronic cigarettes; developing a statewide public awareness campaign on the risks of electronic cigarette use; reviewing and providing feedback on current efforts to address the dangers of electronic cigarette use and considering methods for expansion of those efforts; cooperating with local, state, federal, and private or non-profit entities while the multi-state investigation continues; and adopting similar policies with respect to traditional cigarettes.