FDA Investigates Reports Of Seizures After Vaping

Leslie Hanson
April 5, 2019

"But we've also been clear that, even for adults, e-cigarettes are not risk free".

The FDA said numerous reports it had received lacked enough information to identify a specific brand or sub-brand of e-cigarettes.

"Research demonstrates that high concentrations of nicotine can cause significant health effects, including seizures", said Andrea Spatarella, a doctor of nursing practice from the Center for Tobacco Control at Northwell Health, in Great Neck, New York.

The agency stressed that it's not yet clear if the e-cigarettes caused the seizures. A few cases reported seizures occurred in association with use of other substances such as marijuana and amphetamines. The move was prompted by reports the agency received through its "Safety Reporting Portal". The seizures didn't occur at the same point in time after vaping - some happened after a few puffs, and others up to a day after using an e-cigarette.

This isn't the first health concern tied to e-cigarettes.

One tobacco expert said the link is worth investigating. Certain brands of e-cigarettes contain much higher nicotine levels than a typical combustible cigarette, and the vapor isn't as harsh to inhale as smoke - both of which may make it easier for an individual to overdose.

Juul has maintained that its products are meant to convert adult former smokers to what the company describes as a less-harmful alternative.

The announcement comes as use of the products is skyrocketing among youth. Experts worry that e-cigarettes could put kids' developing brains at risk, get them hooked on nicotine early in life and be a gateway to smoking and other drugs.

For the past two years, the FDA has been trying to stem huge spikes in vaping among teens.

The agency has made a number of other moves in recent months to counter vaping among kids, including warning and fining retailers for illegally selling e-cig products to kids.

"Additional reports or information about these incidents may help us determine if there's a connection and help identify common risk factors and if any e-cigarette product attributes, such as nicotine content or formulation, may contribute to seizures".

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