JUUL Causing Seizures: Who’s Affected?
Did you or a loved one have seizures after you started smoking JUUL pods or Vuse Alto?
The use of JUUL pods for e-cigarettes has been linked to the onset of seizures, which is a known side effect of nicotine toxicity, the Food and Drug Administration is reporting.
Following an FDA investigation, a safety communication was issued stating that there were 35 reported cases of seizures in which e-cigarettes were a factor between 2010 and the beginning of 2019.
Most of the cases reported involved youth or young adult e-cigarette users.
It is likely that there are more cases than what has been reported because of the voluntary nature of reporting, the FDA investigation said.
What Are JUUL Pods?
JUUL pods are the liquid cartridges of the JUUL e-cigarettes, which are hand-held devices that mimic the experience of smoking a cigarette.
There are many different types of JUUL pod flavors, with sweet, fruity flavors attracting a younger crowd.
JUUL e-cigarettes work by heating the JUUL pods liquid cartridges that contain nicotine, which generates an aerosol (vapor) that is then inhaled. There are many brands of e-cigarettes, and JUUL is one of the most popular brands.
JUUL e-cigarettes are very small and look like a USB drive, making them very discrete.
Using e-cigarettes, an activity known as “vaping,” has increased in popularity in recent years. They are often marketed as a healthier alternative to cigarettes because they are supposed to provide people who already smoke with a less harmful way to satisfy their nicotine addiction.
However, critics argue that devices like JUUL are encouraging non-smokers to pick up a nicotine habit, causing a spike in nicotine use.
JUUL pods contain a wide range of ingredients, with a large portion of the vaping fluid being made up of propylene glycol and glycerin solvents.
Since JUUL uses a hot coil to heat up these liquids, the composition of the solvents may change and form potentially hazardous new chemicals once heated.
Additives are a key ingredient in the success of JUUL, with JUUL pods including two varying levels of nicotine – 40mg (5% strength) and 23mg (3% strength). The 5% strength JUUL pod has approximately the same amount of nicotine as one packet of cigarettes.
Other toxic ingredients include contaminants such as metals and ultra fine particles, both which can cause dangerous side effects to the human body.
Are JUUL E-cigarettes Safer Than Cigarettes?
Though e-cigarettes like JUUL are advertised as a safer alternative to smoking, they contain nicotine, and can, therefore, be addictive.
E-cigarettes are designed to deliver nicotine quickly, so people who smoke them may be getting a bigger hit of nicotine than a traditional cigarette may deliver.
The American Academy of Family Physicians notes that JUUL contains nicotine salts from tobacco leaves which are absorbed into the body at around the same rate as nicotine from traditional cigarettes, but it does not produce the “irritating feeling in the chest and lungs that combustible cigarettes do.”
So, teens may consume more of the product because it is less unpleasant to consume.
Additionally, the American Academy of Family Physicians says that JUUL has more than twice the amount of nicotine concentrate as many other brands of e-cigarettes, which may make it more addictive and more prone to causing nicotine toxicity.
Reportedly, one JUUL cartridge, or pod, contains around the same amount of nicotine as one pack of cigarettes.
Read more: Are E-Cigarettes Addictive?
Are JUUL Pods Banned?
A partial ban on flavored e-cigarettes went into effect in February 2020. This partial ban includes the majority of e-cigarettes that used the pre-filled flavored pods known to attract high school students, in an attempt to curb teen vaping.
JUUL pods were not affected by the ban as the company had previously stopped selling flavored products, according to The Washington Post. As of September 2021, the FDA rejected 950,000 applications for flavored vaping products and removed 55,000 other e-cigarettes from the market. However, the regulator hasn’t reached a decision about JUUL’s fate.
Are Certain Vaping Devices More Dangerous Than Others?
The JUUL device has been associated with a possible risk of seizures and nicotine poisoning because of the high levels of nicotine inside the device.
JUUL has also been accused of inappropriately marketing this device to teenagers who could develop a serious nicotine addiction from using this device just a couple of times.
Do All Vaping Products Carry the Same Levels of Nicotine?
Some e-cigarettes like those manufactured by JUUL are designed to distribute nicotine quickly, so this means that certain users could be more addicted to the drug than they might otherwise realize.
Nicotine poisoning is caused when someone ingests or comes into contact with high levels of nicotine. Nicotine can cause vomiting, concussion, seizures, and brain injury.
How Addictive is Nicotine?
According to the CDC, nicotine is highly addictive and could cause significant problems for younger users, such as impeded adolescent brain development. These brain development issues can continue into the user’s mid-20s.
Can Children Purchase JUUL E-cigarettes?
It is illegal for anyone under 18 to purchase e-cigarettes or other tobacco products. However, Martin Health warns parents that children under 18 may still be able to get JUUL products.
Many critics argue that JUUL is intentionally marketed towards teens, making it appealing to this demographic.
A recent report from the Center for Disease Control found that e-cigarette use rose from 1.5 to 16 percent among high school students and from .6 to 5.3 percent among middle school students from 2011 to 2015.
Over two million high school and middle school students used e-cigarettes, including JUUL, in 2016. In June 2021, JUUL agreed to a $40 million settlement with the Attorney General of North Carolina to resolve allegations that the company targeted American youths with e-cigarette ads. In November 2021, the company agreed to another settlement in Arizona – this one worth $14.5 million.
Juul continues to face legal action challenging the company’s youth-centered marketing. In late July 2021, a California judge ruled that the e-cigarette company must face 18 lawsuits in the Northern District of California over allegedly adding fire to the raging youth vaping epidemic.
Is the JUUL Marketing Strategy Focused on Teenagers?
Because of the discrete nature of JUUL pods, many of these new users include teenagers and young adults.
JUUL has already faced lawsuits for making e-cigarettes that are allegedly marketed to teenagers.
The FDA reported last year that vaping had increased almost 80 percent in high schoolers and 50 percent in middle schoolers.
Martin Health goes on to note that not only the marketing of JUUL may be attractive to teens. The design is subtle. Since it “looks just like a flash drive,” it is easy for teenagers to hide it at home or at school.
Read more: What Does Vaping Do To A Teenager?
Can JUUL Cause Seizures?
According to an FDA investigation, there were 35 reported cases of seizures where e-cigarettes were a factor between 2010 and April 2019. The FDA notes that seizures and convulsions are known to be potential side effects of nicotine poisoning.
The federal agency says that seizures and concussions “have been reported in scientific literature in relation to intentional or accidental swallowing of nicotine-containing e-liquids.”
The FDA does stress that it has not been proven that e-cigarette use caused the seizures in the 35 cases but notes the seizures are reported to have occurred after e-cigarette use. The FDA investigation says that there may be more cases of seizures after e-cigarette use that were not reported.
In a few cases, the people who suffered seizures were first-time e-cigarette users. In some cases, seizures reportedly occurred “in association with the use of other substances such as marijuana or amphetamines.”
Additionally, the time frame in which the seizures occurred varied. The FDA says that in some cases, a seizure occurred “after just a few puffs,” and in other cases, a seizure occurred as much as one day after an e-cigarette was used.
The FDA investigation notes that some of the reported cases of seizures after e-cigarette use may not have been necessarily connected to e-cigarette use—they could be caused by other factors like medical conditions.
However, a recent “uptick in voluntary reports” of those who have suffered seizures after e-cigarette use signals “a potential emerging safety issue.”
Read more: How Does Vaping Affect Your Body?
How Many People Have Had Seizures from Vaping?
According to CNN, between 2010 and August of 2019 the FDA received 127 reports of seizures and other neurological conditions potentially relating to the use of e-cigarettes, seeing an additional 92 cases being reported since April of 2019.
The FDA has noted that they can’t state for sure that e-cigarettes are causing these seizures but that due to the volume of people who have reported these problems, there is a potential connection that will go under additional investigation.
In light of this possible connection between vaping and seizures, the FDA reportedly will begin investigating the issue. The FDA’s new investigation into this issue has made news headlines, garnering attention from Healthline, Forbes, and other news outlets.
Though there is not a clear connection between vaping and seizures, Healthline notes that the FDA has released what is known about the issue to the public early in the hopes that medical professionals and the public will report instances of seizures and other health issues associated with vaping.
Because vaping a relatively new phenomenon, there is not much research on the practice. Studies often take many years and vaping gained popularity in the last decade, so there has not been much time for in-depth research to have been conducted.
So, experts are seeking reports from individuals to help fill the gaps in the knowledge about vaping and its risks.
However, Healthline goes on to say that a 2017 study discovered that it was possible to use nicotine to induce seizures in rats.
Much of the concern around e-cigarettes is connected to the way in which the nicotine is delivered — through nicotine liquid. It can be quite concentrated, which could magnify the negative effects of nicotine, according to experts.
Healthline quotes Andrea Spatarella, DNP of the Northwell Health Center for Tobacco Control in Great Neck, N.Y., who says, “Because of irregularities in nicotine labeling on some e-cigarette/vaping devices, and due to the highly concentrated formulation of the e-liquid that is used in some of the devices, an individual may be consuming more nicotine than they realize and put themselves at risk for considerable health risks.”
Should I File a JUUL Class Action Lawsuit?
If you or a loved one suffered from a seizure after using a JUUL pod e-cigarette, you may qualify to join a this JUUL class action lawsuit for e-cigarette side effects investigation.
Learn more by filling out the form on this page for a free case evaluation by a JUUL e-cigarette injury lawyer.
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