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Federal investigators suspect that side effects of vaping with electronic cigarettes may be linked to at least 127 reports of seizures over the last decade; far more than previously expected.
The FDA issued a press release on August 7, indicating that its scientific investigation has revealed additional vaping seizure problems than were first known when it began its investigation in April.
As a result, the agency is now asking the public to inform it of any reports involving seizures following use of JUUL or other e-cigarette products.
The FDA first launched its investigation on April 3, warning of a growing number of reports involving seizures following the use of e-cigarettes. The agency indicated at that time it had received at least 35 reports of seizures since 2010.
Now the agency says it has uncovered a total of 127 such incidents. However, the agency notes that these additional reports do not necessarily mean electronic cigarettes are behind the seizures.
The FDA is posting the reports 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.
“Additional reports or more detailed information about these incidents are vital to help inform our analysis and may help us identify common risk factors and determine whether any specific e-cigarette product attributes, such as nicotine content or formulation, may be more likely to contribute to seizures,” Acting FDA Commissioner Ned Sharpless said in the press release. “It is imperative that health care professionals, consumers, parents, teachers and other concerned adults, as well as youth and young adult users, report detailed information about any past or future incidents of seizures following e-cigarette use to the FDA.”
Vaping Respiratory Illnesses
The update comes as health officials in Wisconsin and Illinois have seen an outbreak of vaping breathing problems among at least a dozen teens. Several required hospitalization, and some had to be treated in hospital intensive care units.
Investigators say the victims were generally recognized as healthy, however, all of the patients have self-reported using vaping products routinely prior to the respiratory complications.
State officials have identified all of the Wisconsin cases were reported from southeastern part of the state, and just a short distance south is where all of the Illinois cases were reported, indicating there may be a geographical connection among vape-juice distributors causing the issues.
Illinois and Wisconsin officials are actively investigating the cause of the respiratory illnesses and have begun collecting patient e-cigarette products and liquids to determine the source of the problem.
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.
The warnings come amid a growing number of JUUL vaping lawsuits filed by 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.