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According to a new report, cases of seizures from JUUL vaping products may have resulted in the recent decision by federal regulators to launch an investigation to determine if the problems may be a side effect of e-cigarettes, raising further concerns about the popularity of JUUL vape pods, especially among teens.
Bloomberg News indicates that at least three seizure cases were described in communications between FDA officials in October 2018, which found an association, but no proof of established causality, between the seizures and JUUL pods.
The JUUL seizure cases appear to be the trigger that launched an FDA investigation into the risk in April 2019, when the agency indicated that it was aware of at least 35 vaping seizure reports since 2010, but did not identify any specific products
In an updated statement issued earlier this month, the FDA indicated that it is now aware of at least 127 seizure cases among users of e-cigarettes, but again it was not clear whether JUUL pods or another e-cigarette product may be associated with the problems.
According to Bloomberg news, an internal communication between the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products Mitch Zeller and former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb mentioned JUUL products in connection with the seizure risk, saying there was “no proof of causality, but at a minimum, an association with JUUL.”
JUUL is the most popular brand of e-cigarette, particularly among teens and young adults who have been drawn to the product since it is designed to look like a USB thumb drive and is easily hidden from adults. However, a growing number of JUUL injury and addiction cases have led to widespread concerns about the safety of the device, as well as vaping in general.
The FDA is posting the reports involving seizures from vaping to its Tobacco Product Problem Reports webpage. The agency also seeks more information on additional seizure reports, which can be submitted through its Safety Reporting Portal.
FTC Investigation Into JUUL Marketing
In addition to reports of seizures, the Wall Street Journal revealed on Thursday that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is now investigating JUUL Labs’ marketing practices, focusing on whether the company used social influencers and other tactics to appeal to minors.
The investigation began sometime last year, with the agency first requesting more information from JUUL in September, and the FTC is trying to decide if it should seek monetary damages.
JUUL officials say they are working with the FTC on the investigation, and that its paid influencer program was short-lived and never a formal campaign.
Teen Vaping Addiction
E-cigarettes and vaping products have become increasingly popular over the last several years, sparking concerns over vaping addiction problems. What was intended to be an alternative method for adults to stop smoking traditional cigarettes has turned into nationwide nicotine addiction epidemic among a variety of age ranges.
Nationwide, vaping among U.S. middle school and high school students has increased 900% from 2011 to 2015 according to the U.S. Surgeon General. The Surgeon General’s report indicated one in five high school students and one in 20 middle school students currently use e-cigarette products.
According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, as of July 31, 2019, poison control centers have managed 2,439 exposure cases about e-cigarette devices and liquid nicotine in 2019.
A stream of additional studies published over the last few years have linked e-cigarette use to seizures, pneumonia, fungal infections of the lungs, and respiratory health risks, among many other adverse health effects.
A growing number of JUUL vaping lawsuits are now being filed on behalf of young adults, teenagers and parents, claiming that the manufacturer of the most popular form of e-cigarette targeted their addictive product toward teens and withheld important safety warnings.