American Lung Association National President and CEO Harold Wimmer issued the following statement in response to an increase in reported vaping-related illnesses and deaths:
"E-cigarettes are not safe and can cause irreversible lung damage and lung disease. No one should use e-cigarettes or any other tobacco product. This message is even more urgent today following the increasing reports of vaping-related illnesses and deaths nationwide.
"E-cigarettes contain chemicals harmful to lung health such as heavy metals, carcinogens, vegetable glycerin and propylene glycol. The developing lungs of youth may be more at risk, making what the Surgeon General refers to as a youth e-cigarette epidemic even more alarming.
"The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state and local health departments are conducting an ongoing investigation of the current cluster of vaping-related illnesses. There have been six confirmed vaping-related deaths, and as of Friday, September 6, there have been more than 450 possible cases of adults and youth experiencing vaping-related illness across 33 states.
"The Lung Association recommends anyone who has recently used e-cigarette products to seek immediate medical care if they experience any adverse health effects, particularly coughing, shortness of breath or chest pain. The Lung Association also calls on physicians to make sure their patients are aware of the health risks associated with e-cigarettes, and swiftly report any suspected cases of vaping-related illness to their state or local health department. If people are seeking to quit tobacco, the Lung Association urges them to talk with a medical provider, and use one of the seven FDA-approved quit-smoking treatments in combination with counseling. FDA has not found any e-cigarette to be safe and effective in helping smokers quit.
"To protect public health and end the youth e-cigarette epidemic, we strongly urge the FDA to immediately begin using its authority to fully regulate e-cigarettes and remove all unauthorized products from the market. We also call on the FDA to immediately end the sale of all flavored tobacco products, including mint and menthol, and end marketing practices that target and enhance the appeal of e-cigarette products to youth.
"With the aim to save lives and reduce tobacco-related disease, the American Lung Association will continue to educate the public and advocate for more public health protections and proven effective policies to help prevent and reduce tobacco use, including e-cigarettes."
Learn more about e-cigarettes and lung health at Lung.org/ecigs. For media interested in speaking with a medical or policy expert about lung health, tobacco use or the youth e-cigarette epidemic, contact Allison MacMunn the American Lung Association at [email protected] or 312-801-7628.
About the American Lung Association
The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease through education, advocacy and research. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to champion clean air for all; to improve the quality of life for those with lung disease and their families; and to create a tobacco-free future. For more information about the American Lung Association, a holder of the coveted 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and a Gold-Level GuideStar Member, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit: Lung.org.