His Family Thought Vaping was Safe, Then He Stopped Breathing: What Parents Need to Know About E-Cigarettes

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We’ve talked a lot about the dangers surrounding the popular e-cigarettes and teenage vaping. But as news breaks this week about the 6th death nationwide possibly linked to vaping, officials are warning people everywhere: Do not use e-cigarettes.

With at least 483 severe lung illnesses across 39 states, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) along with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are looking into possible causes, as growing concerns emerge over mysterious lung disease.

“It is not an infection, it does not respond to antibiotics, and it is very severe,” says Dr. David Persse, with the Houston Public Health Authority.

In Portland, Oregon, 25-year-old Justin Wilson was hospitalized for more than a week after suddenly collapsing while eating dinner with friends on Sept. 1.

Justin had taken up vaping last year as a way to quit smoking, an idea that both he and his father, Jake Wilson, were excited about.

“I thought it was a great idea. I was so happy that he wasn’t smoking anymore. Now, there was this healthier vaping,” Jake told TODAY.

After he collapsed on Sept. 1., Justin spent several days unconscious and unable to breathe on his own. According to his family, even a ventilator couldn’t keep him alive. Doctors were at a loss until they arrived at the official diagnosis: vaping toxicity.

With the help of a special ventilator that delivered quick bursts of air and helped clean out his lungs, Justin is finally recovering well.

But he’s not alone. Justin is one of the hundreds of people nationwide who are fighting for their lives at the hands of e-cigarettes, many of which are young people who turned to vaping at a young age.

Vitamin E oil found in some products has been part of the vaping-related illnesses investigation. Others have included illegal THC oils, which are derived from marijuana.

“They found e-juice in my lungs,” Justin said. “It was starting to fill my lungs with liquid, like pneumonia.”

He continued, “It’s all so new that nobody really knows long-term effects on it.”

Justin says he had been using a Juul device and mint-flavored nicotine pods as a way to help him stop smoking. He bought mostly Juul products and drained about two full pods per day.

One Juul pod contains 20 cigarettes worth of nicotine, roughly 200 puffs.

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Vaping is not as safe as people thought it was, said Dr. Humberto Choi, a pulmonologist and critical care specialist at the Cleveland Clinic. Choi has treated several of the vaping-related illnesses and has recently been inundated by calls from parents worried their children are exhibiting worrisome symptoms.

“The best advice I could give to anyone is to stop vaping altogether,” Choi said.

“We’re seeing young people with no other medical problems who come with coughing and shortness of breath, and when we do an X-ray and CT scan, we see signs of inflammation in both lungs.”

The CDC is still looking for a common pattern or specific substance that could explain the growing vaping crisis. But for now, the only common pattern is the use of e-cigarettes.

Justin says “there’s no way” he’ll go back to vaping, and is encouraging others to throw away their vape pens following the ordeal.

Parents, as previously reported by For Every Mom, most e-cigarettes look no different than a simple USB. They were created originally to help people stop smoking, but they are no healthier than cigarettes. They contain nicotine and are extremely addictive.

People under the age of 21 are not allowed to purchase e-cigarettes, but that has not slowed down the trend among teens and young people.

Parents, we have to stay vigilant. Hear it from the mouths of parents who are watching their kids breathe through a ventilator, e-cigarettes are not safe.

Is your child at risk? Talk to them about the use of e-cigarettes today. It just might save them from a lifetime of addiction, and maybe even their life.


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Bri Lamm
Bri Lamm is the Editor of ForEveryMom.com! An outgoing introvert with a heart that beats for adventure, she lives to serve the Lord, experience the world, and eat macaroni and cheese all while capturing life’s greatest moments on one of her favorite cameras. Follow her on Facebook!