The FDA is continuing to investigate alleged links between vaping and a variety of neurological symptoms and has threatened to take action, although the agency simultaneously acknowledges that no clear patterns of causation have actually emerged.
An announcement issued earlier this month stated that 127 reports had been received to date of seizures or other neurological symptoms in patients that could possibly be attributed to vaping. However, no link to the activity was actually cited. As stated by the acting FDA commissioner (the current administration has to date failed to secure a named commissioner to the post), the agency “is continuing its scientific investigation to determine if there’s a direct relationship between the use of e-cigarettes and a risk of seizure or other neurological symptoms.”
Generally referred to as a “tobacco product,” vaping actually has nothing to do with the combustion and smoking of tobacco and is done by many as a way of working toward quitting smoking. It involves heating a liquid to the point of vaporization and inhaling the resulting aerosol. In most cases, this vaporized liquid delivers nicotine to the user while avoiding the thousands of other carcinogenic compounds that result from the burning of plant matter. Vaping liquids, however, can contain nicotine in a wide variety of concentrations. And, at high enough levels, nicotine can become toxic.
Such is the case with the growing number of cases being filed against Juul Labs. The Juul has become the de facto standard when it comes to vaping devices and its pods are as ubiquitous as currency in some populations. Juul’s pods, however, are notoriously high in their nicotine concentration and one small Juul pod can contain the same amount of nicotine as an entire pack of cigarettes.
One Juul user has sued the device manufacturer after suffering a massive hemorrhagic stroke and spending over 100 days in the hospital. Connecticut resident Maxwell Berger, 22, underwent three brain surgeries, has lost half the vision in both of his eyes and is now left-side paralyzed and speech impaired as a result. Berger was a heavy Juul user and consumed two pods a day, in some cases using his Juul every 10 minutes. Berger’s lawsuit alleges that Juul intentionally misrepresented its product’s risks, fraudulently concealed those risks, and targeted its promotion and marketing to young people (defined as those under 26 years of age).