FDA Investigates 127 Seizure Reports Potentially Linked To Vaping

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Topline: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is investigating 127 cases of e-cigarette users experiencing seizures, and hasn’t detected a pattern among the reports, as scientists have yet to fully determine the long-term health impact of vaping.

  • The FDA announced in April that it was investigating 32 reports of people suffering seizures after vaping. Since then, 92 more reports were made to the agency.
  • The cases occurred from 2009 to 2019 among youth users and adults, and the FDA said it’s unclear if e-cigarettes caused the seizures.
  • Seizure occurred in first-time and experienced e-cigarette users, according to the FDA. 
  • In addition, the FDA said in some of the cases, users had pre-existing seizure diagnoses, or used additional drugs, like marijuana, along with the e-cigarettes.
  • E-cigarette liquid can contain a high percentage of nicotine, which in large doses could cause seizures, as well as dizziness, nausea, tremors, or even death.
  • According to the Centers for Disease Control, scientists are unsure of vaping’s long-term health impact—and that e-cigarettes are a less dangerous nicotine source than tobacco cigarettes, but recommends that nonsmokers stay away from vaping.

Crucial quote: “Ninety-two additional reports over that short period of a time is concerning,” said former FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb Wednesday.

What to watch for: More reports of e-cigarette users experiencing seizures. The FDA has an online form to collect these.

Key background: A patent for the first modern e-cigarette was registered in 2003. Since then, e-cigarette use has exploded, particularly among teenagers, with 2018 sales generating over $2.3 billion in revenue. Juul, the San Francisco-based vape pen maker, was responsible for over half of that 2018 revenue. (San Francisco even banned e-cigarettes this year.) In December 2018, the U.S. surgeon general said that vaping among America’s youth reached epidemic levels. Juul CEO Kevin Burns issued a public apology for youth vaping addiction in July. Juul and other e-cigarette makers are now facing FDA approval to continue selling their products.

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