PORTLAND, Ore. — A 25-year-old man experienced shortness of breath and then collapsed while eating dinner. The man’s near-death experience came on without warning. Fortunately, doctors were able to save his life even though the stricken man was unconscious for several days. However, the man spent a week in the hospital recovering from a lung illness that his doctors linked to vaping. He had been using e-cigarettes for eighteen months as a substitute for smoking tobacco cigarettes. The Today Show interviewed the man’s father, and even the father admitted he thought to vape was a safe alternative to cigarette smoking, that is until his son nearly died.
Doctors did not understand why the young man collapsed without any warning at first. Eventually, the man’s attending physicians agreed that he suffered from vaping toxicity. Vaping toxicity causes the user’s lungs to fill with “e-juice” from the vaping device from constant use. In this particular case, the man favored mint-flavored Juul nicotine pods, mixing in the occasional off-brand versions once in a while. The man admitted he vaped constantly and would devour two pods in a day on average. The man also admitted to using marijuana in the vaping devices. He used about one per month. Since recreational marijuana use is lawful in Oregon, the man could buy THC products at stores rather than on the black market.
The vaping victim’s medical history was unremarkable. He received an asthma diagnosis as a child but never needed to use an inhaler until he began vaping. On the day he got sick, he told his friends that he had a pain in his chest. His friends said he turned purple and collapsed. Initially, doctors thought he had a massive asthma attack, but he did not respond to asthma treatments. Doctors tried a traditional ventilator to help him breathe because his lungs would not work autonomously. When that did not work, they put him on a specialized machine that eventually helped him clean out the oil from the vape pen trapped in his lungs.
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