New information presented Wednesday showed the potential connection between vaping and seizures. And it comes at a time when record numbers of teenagers are choosing e-cigarettes.
It is yet another blow to e-cigarettes. After years growing in popularity, several studies are revealing new dangers. A recent study showed a possible link between seizures and vaping.
Lurie Children’s neurologist Dr John Millichap said nicotine is the culprit.
“It could cause a seizure in an otherwise healthy person if the levels get high enough,” he said. “Symptoms of nicotine poisoning are having an increased heart rate, vomiting, feeling sick and, in some cases, seizures.”
They’re advertised as a safer alternative to smoking, and teen use of regular and flavored e-cigarette versions shot up nearly 80% from 2017 to 2018.
The Centers for Disease Control concedes e-cigarette aerosol contains fewer toxic chemicals than smoke from regular cigarettes but said e-cigarette aerosol is not harmless, it does contain highly addictive nicotine. There are also known cancer causing chemicals, some in tiny particles that go deep into the lungs of users. E-cigarette batteries have exploded causing burns, and the liquid in the cartridge can be toxic, especially to children.
“It can be absorbed through the skin or mucous membranes, like the eye. So any exposure to liquid nicotine, especially in children, should be followed with a call to the pediatrician, a poison center or 9-1-1,” Millichap said. “There probably won’t be any lasting effects if you recover, but very high levels of nicotine in the blood can be fatal.”
The Food and Drug Administration has been looking into side effects of vaping and is now investigating 35 reported seizures, mostly teens and young adults, who reported their experience on the FDA adverse event reporting system. Experts said there may be many more that have gone unreported. Now the FDA is asking anyone who had a bad experience after vaping to come forward. Seizures were reported in both first-time vapers and regular users.