HHS Secretary Azar Statement on Illnesses Associated with E-Cigarettes



As of August 27, 2019, health departments from 25 states have reported 215 possible cases of pulmonary illnesses from users of e-cigarette products, resulting in one death, and additional reports are under investigation. HHS Secretary Alex Azar issued the following statement:

“HHS and the Trump Administration are using every tool we have to get to the bottom of this deeply concerning the outbreak of illnesses in Americans who use e-cigarettes. More broadly, we will continue using every regulatory and enforcement power we have to stop the epidemic of youth e-cigarette use. This situation, and the rising tide of youth tobacco use, is a top public health priority for the Trump Administration and every leader at HHS.”

Further Background from HHS

  • On Friday, CDC’s Health Alert Network sent out a bulletin with information gathered for the use of clinicians and Americans interested in following the issue.
  • No single substance or e-cigarette product has been consistently associated with these illness reports.
  • CDC and FDA are working closely with local health departments to investigate, including ongoing testing at FDA laboratories.
  • Clinicians should report any new cases as appropriate to their state or local health department.
  • The general public can report any unexpected issues with e-cigarettes to the FDA’s Safety Reporting Portal.
  • The CDC recommends that, while the investigation is ongoing, Americans who use e-cigarettes and are concerned about these specific, potential risks of illness should consider refraining from their use, and should not buy them off the street or modify them or add substances in ways not intended by the manufacturer.
  • In general, youth, young adults, and pregnant women should never be using e-cigarettes, and Americans who do not use tobacco products should not start using e-cigarettes.

Read the joint statement from CDC Director Robert Redfield and Acting FDA Commissioner Ned Sharpless: https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/statement-federal-and-state-collaboration-investigate-respiratory-illnesses-reported-after-use-e.

Read CDC’s Health Alert Network bulletin: https://emergency.cdc.gov/han/han00421.asp.

Read CDC’s information on Electronic Cigarrettes: https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/basic_information/e-cigarettes

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