E-cigarettes are marketed to smokers and others as a “safer” more user-friendly alternative to traditional combustible tobacco. On this promise, e-cigarette use has soared, particularly among young adults and teenagers. Despite these claims, however, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) continues to unearth evidence that these e-cigarettes may not be as safe as they claim to be. One recent example comes from an FDA announcement made about e-cigarette seizures among users.
The FDA Study of E-Cigarette Seizures
On April 3, 2019, The FDA made a press announcement in which they described a new trend of health concerns among users of e-cigarettes. From 2010 to 2019, 35 adverse event reports have been filed with the FDA stating that while using e-cigarettes, consumers experienced seizures.
During the announcement, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb M.D. stated that:
“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. We also recognize that not all of the cases may be reported. We believe these 35 cases warrant scientific investigation into whether there is, in fact, a connection.”
This strong stance on investigation and discovery stems from an initiative by the FDA to curtail e-cig risks by “looking at existing research, adverse event reporting, and both funding and conducting studies that will help fill the current gaps in information.”
From these reviews, it has been determined that the groups most affected by these seizures are young adults and teenagers. Additionally, these reports are only the voluntary reports filed with either the FDA’s adverse event reports or poison control centers. Many, including Dr. Gottlieb, believe that many more people have suffered these side effects but have not reported it.
For more information about e-cigarettes and the risks and complications associated with them, see Parker Waichman LLP’s full coverage of the issue here.
Possible Causes of E-Cigarette Seizures
Before assigning formal blame, the FDA made sure to include a summary definition of seizures and their symptoms on their Newsroom page. According to the FDA: “Seizures result from sudden, abnormal electrical activity in the brain.” Typically, seizures are thought of as full-body convulsions and intense shuddering but this is not the only type of seizure symptoms. Other signs of e-cigarette seizures could include:
- Lapses in awareness or consciousness
- Appearing to stare blankly into space
- Suddenly ceasing movement
- Sudden falling
- Bodily shaking or trembling
- Sudden drowsiness, confusion, or headache
- Loss of memory lasting up to a few minutes
While seizures generally do not cause lasting harm, they indicate the need for prompt medical attention to look for a cause and to prevent future seizures”
Although studies have only just begun, there is one suspected reason for these side effects that is supported by science. The FDA has put forth the suggestion that some of these seizures were the result of nicotine poisoning. Nicotine poisoning is a well-documented cause of seizures and one of the leading possibilities of these e-cigarette seizures lies in the high levels of nicotine in e-cigarette liquids.
Help For Victims of E-Cigarette Seizures
Though there may be more cases uncovered as time progresses, there are almost three dozen confirmed cases of e-cigarette seizures that have been reported to the FDA. These seizures were previously totally unknown and could pose a serious risk to consumers, especially those who use e-cigarettes while driving or at work in a potentially dangerous environment. If you or a loved one have suffered from e-cigarette seizures and may have suffered additional injuries because of it, don’t wait. Let Parker Waichman LLP represent you today. Parker Waichman LLP has a team of trial lawyers with a winning record and years of collective trial experience. Contact Parker Waichman today for a free consultation.
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