October 04, 2019

Van Hollen, Senate Colleagues Urge HHS to Act to Stop Youth E-cigarette Epidemic

Today, U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) joined a group of 12 senators to urge the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to take long overdue steps to stop the youth e-cigarette epidemic. In a letter to HHS Secretary Alex Azar, the Senators called on HHS to “advance policies to help prevent more adolescents from getting hooked on e-cigarettes, and prioritize solutions to help America’s youth quit e-cigarettes, by expediting and focusing on the development of effective cessation tools.”

In their letter, the Senators urged HHS to prioritize efforts that will help prevent young people from getting hooked on e-cigarettes, as well as the development of effective cessation tools to help youth quit e-cigarettes. There are currently no nicotine replacement therapies (NRTs) approved for youth use.

“The Administration must seek out ways to treat now-nicotine dependent youth. Medical professionals lack information about how to treat now-addicted teen e-cigarette users, as there are no nicotine replacement therapies currently approved for youth use. Children, and their families, have been left with little guidance as they deal with nicotine withdrawal, including symptoms like headaches, nausea, and irritability. There have now been reports of teens turning back to cigarettes in order to quit e-cigarettes, a stunning indication of the addictive nature of nicotine. FDA, NIH, and CDC need to engage in efforts to develop, investigate, and distribute cessation best practices and products, specifically designed for adolescents,” wrote the Senators.

The letter today signed by U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Richard J. Durbin (D-IL), Jack Reed (D-RI), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Patty Murray (D-WA), Edward J. Markey (D-MA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Jon Tester (D-MT), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL).

The full text of today’s letter is copied below and available here.