It’s no secret that smoking is bad for you. What’s a little less clear is whether or not e-cigarettes pose a serious health risk. Since the technology is so young, science hasn’t had time to determine an answer.
Nonetheless, researchers are doing their best to determine if e-cig products like Juul are safe. Though they haven’t reached a conclusion, current signs are pointing to an answer of definitely not.
Now, an FDA investigation will examine the possibility that Juul devices and other vape products may be linked to seizures.
While e-cigarettes or “vapes” can be a useful tool to help someone stop smoking actual cigarettes, they are increasingly being used by people outside of that target audience. The primary concern is the staggering number of teens using the products.
Even without safety assurances about a product like Juul, young people are puffing up to three “pods” per day. The amount of nicotine in that daily routine is equivalent to smoking nine packs of cigarettes.
Unfortunately, the negative health effects of vapes might be starting to show themselves as the trend grows. An initial report from the FDA in 2018 found 32 cases of e-cigarette products being linked to a person experiencing seizures over the past 10 years. However, since then, the agency has uncovered an additional 95 cases, bringing the total to 127.
That number is large enough to trigger an official investigation into the company from the FDA. Previously, Bloomberg reports, there was no confirmation of any one brand of vape being linked to the seizures. Now, people have officially named Juul as the product they were using when they experienced seizures.
Though not all of the cases in the investigation are public, two come from parents of teenagers. Their children experienced grand-mal seizures after puffing on a Juul pod. While the two cases could simply be anomalies, the increasing number of seemingly linked cases suggests otherwise.
Thus far, the FDA has found, “no proof of causality, but at a minimum, an association with Juul.” While this doesn’t prove that Juul is directly responsible, it does give researchers something to work with moving forward.
Meanwhile, the company is also under fire in a separate investigation by the CDC regarding a severe lung disease that appears to be linked to vaping. Since June, more than 190 people have been diagnosed with the illness. This includes several patients that have been hospitalized and placed on ventilator support. Last week, the illness claimed its first life.
For now, despite the fact that there is no definitive link between vaping and health problems, people should probably steer clear of the habit. Until the harmful health effects are truly identified, it simply isn’t worth the risk of getting some unknown illness or a dangerous seizure.