September 26, 2019

FDA Launches Criminal Probe into Vaping Injuries and Deaths

On September 19, 2019 the FDA announced a criminal probe into injuries and deaths related to vaping. The probe is in response to growing concerns about the safety of e-cigarettes after some users have fallen ill with severe lung disease. The CDC has tracked over 530 illnesses and 7 deaths linked to e-cigarettes and vaping. Though all patients tracked by the CDC have used e-cigarettes, it is unclear what exactly is making people sick. Some patients only vaped products with THC, the compound in marijuana that produces a high, while others vaped THC in addition to nicotine. Some patients only used products with nicotine and no THC.

The FDA has asserted that the probe is not focused on individuals who may be consuming controlled substances such as THC through e-cigarettes. Instead, the investigation is focusing on suppliers and identifying what is making people sick. The move comes during increased legislative and executive attention to vaping, as the Trump administration recently authorized the FDA to finalize a proposed rule to ban flavored e-cigarettes.  Additionally, the Economic and Consumer Policy Subcommittee of the House of Representatives held a hearing September 24, 2019, on the lung disease outbreak linked to the products.