Press Room

Illinois Department of Public Health Director Ngozi Ezike Testifies on Lung Disease Outbreak

WASHINGTON, DC (Sept. 24, 2019)— Ngozi Ezike, MD, director of the Illinois Department of Health, testified today before the House Oversight and Reform Committee, Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy on the current multistate outbreak of lung injury associated with e-cigarette product use. The hearing, “Examining the Outbreak of Lung Disease and CDC’s Urgent Warning Not to Use E-Cigarettes,” provided members of Congress the opportunity to discuss and examine the cause of the outbreak, which has affected more than 530 individuals within 38 states.

The Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) is pleased that Congress is investigating the outbreak and supports aggressive efforts to reduce all tobacco use, including e-cigarettes and their associated liquids containing nicotine and other harmful agents.

“While the negative effects of vaping and related products are yet to be fully understood, what we are certain of, is that vaping and e-cigarettes are unequivocally detrimental to the health and wellbeing of adolescents and anyone who has never smoked tobacco,” says Ezike. “Nicotine is highly addictive, and more so for the youngest of vape users. Contemporary product designs, attractive technology, and associated items, like vape wear, appeal to our youth and serve only to enable use of these products by young people. We cannot stand idly by and watch the high-tech e-cigarette erase the incredible progress of the last 10 years with enticements to vape by marketing to young people through flavors such as strawberry, watermelon, mango, and blue raspberry e-juices.”

For more information and to read Ezike’s testimony, visit the committee’s website.


ASTHO is the national nonprofit organization representing the public health agencies of the United States, the U.S. territories and freely associated states, and the District of Columbia, as well as the more than 100,000 public health professionals these agencies employ. ASTHO members, the chief health officials of these jurisdictions, are dedicated to formulating and influencing sound public health policy and to ensuring excellence in public health practice