FDA Warns of Seizure Risk With E-Cigarettes
"We believe these 35 cases warrant scientific investigation into whether there is in fact a connection". "Additionally, some of the reported incidents may not be directly related to e-cigarette use - the seizures may have been triggered by an underlying medical condition, use of other substances, or other factors", Gottlieb and Abernethy noted. "We can't yet say for certain that e-cigarettes are causing these seizures".
However, it's known that seizures can be a symptom of nicotine poisoning, which happens when people are exposed to high levels of the compound, such as through accidental swallowing of nicotine-containing e-liquids. "Due to the voluntary nature of these case reports, there may be more instances of seizure in e-cigarette users than have been reported". Seizures have been reported to have occurred after a few puffs or up to one day after use.
"E-cigarette use behaviors also vary and users may deliberately or inadvertently inhale more nicotine than would typically occur", Gottlieb and Abernethy said, adding that e-liquids "have varying levels of nicotine concentrations, and some e-cigarette design features may allow a user to obtain high levels of nicotine quickly". 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.
This isn't the first health concern tied to e-cigarettes.
Just last month, the agency announced it would go ahead with efforts to restrict sales of some types of flavoured vaping products to minors.
The FDA continues to monitor these reports, which increasingly involve electronic cigarettes ("vapes") in addition to tobacco products. Companies that fail to comply could see their products pulled from the market, the agency said at the time.
The agency is calling on doctors and the general public to report cases of seizures tied to e-cigarette use to better understand the link.