E-Cigarettes May Lead To Seizures?


E-cigarettes, more commonly known as vapes, have been a trend nowadays, especially in teenagers and young adults. This product has been introduced to the market several years ago and has become a hit until now. It comes in various forms and sizes, ranging from a typical-looking cigarette to e-pipes and large tank-like devices.

Undeniably, one reason for the increasing popularity of these e-cigarettes is because traditional smoking of cigarettes have been associated with a lot of health problems including lung cancer. Some people claim that e-cigarettes are a safer alternative, so some cigarette smokers switched to e-cigarettes in an attempt to lessen the adverse effects of smoking on their health without compromising their desire for it.

However, this claim has not been concretely proven until now, and medical researchers still have a lot more to learn. Although several researchers say that e-cigarettes are less dangerous compared to traditional cigarettes, it is still important to note that they still contain substances such as nicotine that are harmful to the body and could cause deleterious effects.

In addition to this, e-cigarettes were also known to help cigarette smokers reduce or even quit smoking. This had an additional impact on its increasing popularity and demand, but researchers emphasized that this could still cause addiction due to the nicotine content.

When e-cigarettes came into view some years back, little was known about its long-term effects on health until now, but just recently, an issue has surfaced because of reports of seizure in e-cigarette users. The United States’ Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a special announcement regarding this matter. It was found out based on the reports via the FDA’s Safety Reporting Portal and from poison control centers that between the year 2010 until early this year, there have been a total of 35 reports of seizures that could be associated with e-cigarettes mostly in young adults.

Nicotine, which is the main ingredient found in both traditional cigarettes and e-cigarettes, is known to cause nausea, sweating, dizziness, and tremors when ingested in large amounts. In severe cases, it could lead to seizures, and eventually death.

Medical toxicologists state that it is not possible to get that much nicotine by just smoking cigarettes, but one medical toxicologist said that it might be possible for e-cigarettes to deliver enough nicotine to cause a seizure. These are, however, only claims and not a fact yet due to the lack of data and studies.

Although it is known that nicotine could cause seizures when ingested or taken in high amounts, the FDA could still not establish the relationship between e-cigarette and seizures because of numerous factors. No distinct pattern can be seen in these cases making it difficult to conclude anything. 

Some of these people who had seizures experienced it after their first time trying the e-cigarettes while others were already using them for a while. Some had been previously diagnosed with seizures, and a number of them admitted that they also use other substances such as cannabis and amphetamine. Taking into account all of these factors makes it confusing to see the direct link between e-cigarette use and the occurrence of a seizure.

Another significant and potentially alarming fact with this issue is that most of those who experienced the seizures are young adults. According to the National Youth Tobacco Survey, more than 3.6 million middle and high school students used e-cigarettes in 2018 making it the most commonly used tobacco product in this age group. It was also discovered that teens who vape or use e-cigarettes are four times more likely to start smoking cigarettes that those who do not vape. This raises concern and actions are now taken to reduce the use of e-cigarettes and other tobacco products among teenagers and young adults.

Currently, the FDA is still investigating the issue regarding seizures and is alerting the public to this potentially dangerous health issue. It also encourages people to report to if they or someone they know experience seizures or any health-related problems with any tobacco product because they believe that the 35 reported cases are an underestimation of the possible total number of e-cigarette users who experienced a seizure.

Photo:Lindsay Fox

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