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The FDA is investigating nicotine poisoning as a possible cause.


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The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is investigating a possible link between seizures and e-cigarette use, after receiving reports of seizures in youth and young adults following vaping. Seizures are a known adverse effect of nicotine poisoning and have been reported in the scientific literature following the swallowing of e-liquid.


A review of voluntary adverse event reports to the FDA and poison control centers revealed 35 cases of seizure after e-cigarette use between 2010 and early 2019. Because reporting is voluntary, it's likely there are even more cases. The reports show no pattern and don't identify a specific brand of e-cigarette. Seizures occurred in first-time users and experienced users, and they occurred as quickly as after a few puffs or as late as a full day after use. In a few cases, seizures occurred when marijuana or amphetamines were used in combination with e-cigarettes. And a few of the seizures occurred in persons with previous diagnoses of seizure disorders.


"We can't yet say for certain that e-cigarettes are causing these seizures," the FDA announced in a statement, adding that it is continuing to collect evidence.


In response, the American Vaping Association released a statement accusing the FDA of "fearmongering." The association said vaping was primarily aimed at "maximizing the number of adult smokers who use these products to quit smoking," and asserted that since 3 million adults and 470,000 children in the United States have epilepsy or another seizure disorder, it's expected that some e-cigarette users will experience seizures regardless of whether they vape or abstain from nicotine use.


As AJN has reported, however, the increasing number of middle and high schoolers who vape is a serious problem, and while e-cigarettes may seem safer than combustible tobacco products, vaping can release nicotine at higher concentrations than conventional cigarettes, says the FDA.


The FDA advises nurses and other health care professionals to be aware of the possibility of vaping-related seizures and to report any past or future such episodes at Zolot, PA