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The FDA seeks public's help on any link between e-cigarettes and seizures

Rachel Tesler

The FDA reminded the public this week to keep submitting incidents that may show the link between the use of e-cigarettes and seizures.

The Federal Drug Administration said the scientific investigation was a response to initial requests from the public earlier this year. At this time, the administration said they cannot definitively determine if e-cigarettes directly cause seizures and other neurological events.

The FDA began receiving reports of seizures linked to e-cigarettes like JUUL and tobacco products in 2010. The seizures may not have been solely to blame, as some of the seizures occurred in those who were vaping for the first time and others were using other drugs at the time or may have had an underlying medical condition.

Last year, tobacco giant Altria paid $12.8 billion for a 35 percent stake in JUUL.

This report comes as an update to the initial announcement in April when former FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb said the reports had alerted the agency that e-cigarettes posed a public health risk.

“While 35 cases may not seem like much compared to the total number of people using e-cigarettes, we are nonetheless concerned by these reported cases,” outgoing FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said in a statement.

Allegedly liquids in e-cigarettes have a high concentration of nicotine that is potentially harmful. If swallowed, they can be poisonous, often causing nausea, sweating, dizziness and tremors, according to the National Capital Poison Center. In severe cases, nicotine poisoning can cause seizures or even death.

The FDA has asked consumers and health care professionals to contribute to their investigation with any available information.  Acting FDA Commissioner Ned Sharpless, M.D. requested that information be reported to the FDA through the Safety Reporting Portal.

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“We’re committed to monitoring this issue closely and taking additional steps as necessary to protect the public, especially our nation’s youth, from the dangers of e-cigarettes and other tobacco products,” Sharpless said.

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