NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday that another vaping-related death has been reported in the state.
But as experts and some lawmakers continue to push for a ban on flavored vaping products, federal officials won’t commit to the move, CBS2’s Nick Caloway reported.
A Manhattan man in his 30s has become the second person in the state to die from vaping-related illness. Cuomo said the Department of Health is investigating, but warned, “If you don’t know what you’re smoking, don’t smoke it.”
A 17-year-old boy from the Bronx died of a similar condition last month.
In Washington, President Donald Trump’s pick to lead the Food and Drug Administration sidestepped questions about a potential ban on flavored vape products.
“I do not want to see another generation of Americans become addicted to tobacco and nicotine,” Dr. Stephen Hahn said.
In front of the Senate’s Health Committee on Wednesday, Hahn said a recent wave of underage vaping is an urgent crisis and demands aggressive action. However, he said he wants to consult with FDA experts before committing to a plan or a ban.
“I don’t have all the facts that they might have, but I can tell you this for sure, sir: I will use science and data to guide the decision,” Hahn said.
Hahn was grilled by senators from both parties on reports that the Trump administration is backing away from plans to ban most vaping flavors. Since announcing his intentions in September, Trump has backed off the proposal, after facing pressure from vaping lobbyists and his political advisers.
“I can’t imagine a reason for holding off on immediately banning these kinds of flavors,” Utah Sen. Mitt Romney said.
On Wednesday, Hahn stopped short of pushing the president to ban the flavors.
“I understand the final compliance policy is under consideration by the administration and I look forward to their decision. I’m not privy to those decision-making processes,” Hahn said.
Cuomo called the vaping epidemic a public health crisis, and said more lives will be lost until our leaders in Washington do something to stop it.
“We are taking every step possible to combat this crisis on the state level, but the federal government needs to take action now. President Trump has already backed down from his vow to ban the sale of most flavored e-cigarettes — despite widespread evidence that these flavors are used to target our teens and young adults –and put the interests of the vaping industry over the lives of Americans,” Cuomo’s statement said in part. “This is Big Tobacco all over again.”
Earlier this week, the American Medical Association also called for a sweeping ban of vaping products.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently announced a potential link between the rise in vaping-related illnesses and deaths to Vitamin E acetate, a compound found in some black market THC products.