The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday warned of potential safety risks from the use of e-cigarettes after it found certain users had suffered from seizures.
The agency said it had observed a slight increase in the reports of seizures since last June and has identified 35 cases of seizures following use of e-cigarettes between 2010 and early 2019. The seizures, which mostly involved youth or young adult users, had occurred after a few puffs or up to one day after use.
E-cigarettes have been a divisive topic in the public health community, with some focusing on the benefit of shifting smokers to less harmful nicotine products, while others fear it would create a new generation addicted to nicotine.
Seizures or convulsions are known potential side effects of nicotine poisoning and have been reported in relation to intentional or accidental swallowing of nicotine-containing e-liquids, according to the FDA statement.
However, the agency said it could not yet say for certain that e-cigarettes had caused the seizures and the cases warrant an investigation into whether there is in fact a connection.
Last month, the FDA had released formal plans to curb the sale of flavored e-cigarettes, which involve restricting the availability of flavors other than tobacco, mint and menthol, to stores or online portals where strong age-verification protocols are in place.
The agency on Wednesday said that it was also looking into any additional consequences to nicotine use as some e-cigarettes deliver high concentrations of nicotine.
The FDA said many of the reports it had received lacked enough information to identify a specific brand or sub-brand of e-cigarettes.
Some of the reported seizure cases involved users who had a prior history of seizure diagnosis, while a few others suffered seizures in association with use of other substances such as marijuana or amphetamines.
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