By Chris Pirschel, Staff Writer, and Alec Stone, ONS Public Affairs Director

Shalala Commits to Vaping Fight

Vaping has been associated with significant public health effects during the past several months, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Congress is making e-cigarette regulation a top priority—especially in the wake of the youth smoking epidemic. Now, several members of Congress have developed their own legislative efforts to address the national issue.

In September 2019, U.S. Representative Donna Shalala (D-FL) spoke to 110 ONS members at the Fourth Annual Capitol Hill Days conference in Washington, DC, reiterating her support for strengthening restrictions on the marketing, distribution, and sales of tobacco products, flavored e-cigarettes, and vaping mechanisms. Several bills are being considered in the House and Senate, and with support from Energy and Commerce Chair Frank Pallone (D-NJ), a bill encompassing youth smoking cessation elements will likely be passed. Vaping is an incredibly bipartisan issue, and ONS advocates championed efforts with elected officials during their visit to Washington, DC. Learn more about how nurses influenced health policy at ONS Capitol Hill Days on the Oncology Nursing Podcast.

The Fight for Pre-Existing Conditions Coverage

Despite both major political parties committing to support protections for all Americans with pre-existing conditions like cancer, 18 attorneys general are on the cusp of winning a court case that would strike down that consumer protection entirely. The case brought against the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is half legal and half political, because the current administration is in full favor of dismantling the healthcare law.

What’s the upside for the American people if the elected state attorneys general win? Constituents will not be pleased if they’re no longer guaranteed healthcare coverage for pre-existing conditions. Oncology nurses know full well what happens to survivors who are left without a way to pay for treatments and care. Join ONS as a voice for accessible, affordable health care for Americans.

Trump to Nominate Hahn as FDA Commissioner

New information suggests that President Trump is set to nominate Stephen Hahn, MD, for U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) commissioner. Pending a background check and vetting process, Hahn—an oncologist by trade—would bring his expertise in cancer care to the agency’s efforts.  

Although current FDA Acting Commissioner Ned Sharpless, MD, was popular at the agency, politics can get in the way sometimes. After an early 2019 meeting with U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) went poorly, the senator wrote a public letter castigating Sharpless for a lack of leadership on the growing vaping issue. With recent death counts linked to e-cigarettes increasing, Sharpless is in an unfortunate position and the Trump administration wants to move on to new leadership at the regulatory agency.