As of Jan. 14, 2,668 individuals in the United States and its territories have been hospitalized with e-cigarette, or vaping, product use-associated lung injuries (EVALIs). Nevertheless, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has softened its approach toward e-cigarettes such that its new recommendations practically endorse e-cigarette use by certain populations. This article examines the CDC’s abrupt change in position on e-cigarettes and analyzes the efficacy of the CDC’s new guidance.

The CDC’s Retreat From Common Sense

On Aug. 30, 2019, the CDC issued a health advisory related to e-cigarette use. That advisory included recommendations for clinicians, public health official, and the public at large. The first recommendation issued to the public was straightforward without being alarmist: “While this investigation is ongoing, if you are concerned about the specific health risks associated with e-cigarettes, consider refraining from using e-cigarette products.” On Jan. 17, the CDC abandoned that message.

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