FDA to investigate reports of seizures possibly linked to e-cigarette use

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By Shamard Charles, M.D.

The Food and Drug Administration announced Wednesday that they will investigate reports of seizures after using e-cigarettes.

“We have reports indicating that some people who use e-cigarettes, especially youth and young adults, are experiencing seizures following their use,” FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb said in a statement.

Since 2010, the FDA has received 35 reports of seizures among teenagers using e-cigarettes. It’s not clear that vaping is solely responsible — some of the seizures occurred in those who were vaping for the first time. Others were using other drugs at the time or may have had an underlying medical condition.

“We can’t yet say for certain that e-cigarettes are causing these seizures,” the FDA said. “We’re sharing this early information with the public because as a public health agency, it’s our job to communicate about potential safety concerns associated with the products we regulate that are under scientific investigation by the agency.”

Most vaping products contain varying levels of nicotine. Some e-cigarettes such as Juul are designed to deliver nicotine quickly, so that users, especially teens, may be getting more of the addictive drug than they realize. Nicotine poisoning can cause seizures, convulsions, vomiting and brain injury. In the past, the FDA has received reports of potentially fatal nicotine poisoning in infants and children who swallowed liquids containing nicotine.