Teen Issues Warning After Horror Vaping Experience
Maddie Nelson vaped every day for three years, assuming it was safe, but in late July she fell ill and within days she was placed in a medically-induced coma.
Now the 18-year-old is speaking out about the dangers of vaping.
Nelson visited her local GP in Payson, Utah in late July after mild symptoms turned into a fever, vomiting and shortness of breath.
Within hours she was transported to hospital and admitted to intensive care where she was placed in a medically induced coma for three days.
"My temperature was so high, my brain just completely shut off," Nelson told Fox 13 Now."I thought I was in the Payson hospital for one night, and I was actually there for four days".
After a number of scans and tests, doctors diagnosed Nelson with eosinophilic pneumonia, an uncommon acute respiratory illness that can be fatal.
At one point, doctors thought Nelson wouldn't survive.
“My family seriously thought I had passed away, and when I found that out, it just made me so sad,” she said.
Thankfully, Nelson's condition has improved, but she is yet to fully recover. At night, Nelson still needs to use oxygen and doctors don't know what the long term effects will be.
Nelson was a healthy teenager who vaped every day for three years, like many other students at her high school. She explained that she started out with zero nicotine vape juice and eventually increased to three mg of nicotine and thought nothing of it.
Now, she and her family are working to raise awareness about the dangers of e-cigarettes and vaping. They've launched a GoFundMe page to help pay for Nelson's recovery as well as to raise awareness about the reality of vaping.
"While closed studies have considered these products safe for our consumption, the reality is that there is not enough data to support that," the siblings wrote.
"Maddie's generation and those after her are the guinea pigs of the popularizing of the 'vape life' and after only a few years we are seeing some pretty scary side effects," they continued.
It's a statement that has been backed by health officials in the United States who are investigating 215 possible cases of severe lung disease associated with vaping across 25 states.
All have been recorded since June 2018.
Chief paediatric pulmonologist Melodi Pirzada told the New York Times that the outbreak is becoming an "epidemic." "Something is very wrong," she said.
Patients often present to medical facilities with severe shortness of breath, often after suffering from vomiting, fever and fatigue. Experts are now investigating whether a particular substance or toxin is being used in products or whether the risk stems from heavy e-cigarette use.
Just last month a man who developed lung disease after vaping died in a world first.
While he wasn't identified, the man lived in the state of Illinois and was aged between 17 and 38.
Vaping is beginning to catch on, particularly with the younger generations. According to recent statistics from the Cancer Council, around 13 percent of teenagers aged 12-17 have already tried e-cigarettes.
While it is illegal for retail outlets to sell liquid-nicotine for vaping, it is easy to access nicotine from outside the country.