At a press conference on Sunday, the soon-to-be Democratic Minority Leader Chuck Schumer blasted e-cigs as “ticking time bombs” that demand immediate federal oversight. Now that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is officially in charge of regulating the vaping industry thanks to the newly announced deeming regulations of last May, Schumer wants the agency to figure out once and for all why so many electronic cigarettes are still exploding and causing physical injury.
Citing a recent news story by the Associated Press (AP) claiming that the FDA had identified some 66 explosions in early 2016 and several more in the months preceding, Schumer seems to be implying that both the FDA and the vaping industry have dropped the ball. The AP story also claims that the FDA’s numbers may be grossly underestimated, referring to a local hospital in Seattle that alone has witnessed more than 20 patients suffering from alleged e-cig injuries since October 2015.
According to Sen. Schumer, further federal action is needed, including the possibilities of immediate recalls.
“Where there’s smoke, there’s fire and that seems to be the case — again and again — for many popular e-cigarettes that have injured dozens of people…With any other product, serious action would have been taken and e-cigarettes should be no exception. Despite the explosions, no recalls have been issued. It’s radio silence from both the industry and the feds, so that’s why I’m sounding the alarm.”
Schumer’s statements fly in the face of many of his Republican counterparts, including California Congressman Duncan Hunter and Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson who have recently demanded that the FDA repeal the deeming regulations immediately. Hunter and Johnson have long been pro-vaping advocates on Capitol Hill, and they also firmly believe that the Trump Administration will overturn the FDA deeming regulations shortly after taking office on January 20.
Chuck Schumer has Donald Trump’s ear
While it is true that the Republicans will have control of the House, the Senate, and the Executive branch of government after Inauguration Day, Minority Leader Schumer might be the perfect spokesperson to lead the anti-e-cig charge in the waning days of the Obama Presidency. Schumer, like Trump, is from New York, and the two already have a long personal, professional, and political history.
Furthermore, the Senate Minority Leader has already broken with many of his Democratic colleagues by suggesting that a President Trump may be someone with whom the party might find some common ground during the next four years. And many political insiders from both sides of the aisle agree that the best way to curry favor with the President-Elect is to pay him a direct public complement. Schumer has also called upon the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission to take a more active role in the War on Vaping.
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