From the year 2003, many smokers switched to vaping because it was thought to be a better alternative to smoking regular cigarettes. E-cigarette companies claim they are safe and a better alternative to regular cigarettes. However, that matter remains up for debate, given the recent rise of alarming reports of young people suffering from catastrophic lung damage linked to vaping.
18 year-old Maddie Nelson from Utah, USA is the latest victim. The teenager suffered catastrophic lung damage after vaping every day for three years.
Maddie started to feel ill earlier this year but last month experienced severe back and kidney pain. She was rushed to hospital struggling to breathe but the oxygen that medics gave her did not work.
As she battled for her life, an X-ray showed severe damage to her lungs. Doctors were left with no option but to put her into a medically-induced coma.
“The situation went from serious to potentially fatal and an X-ray showed severe damage to her lungs.” Her sister Andrea said.
Andrea explained, “On August 1, she officially received her diagnosis after two bronchoscopies. Test results showed she has been enduring acute eosinophilic pneumonia. Her doctor suspects it’s from electronic vaping sources, this includes all supposedly “safe” alternatives to smoking such as e-cigarettes.”
Acute eosinophilic pneumonia is a rare disease caused by a build-up of white blood cells in the lungs in response to inflammation.
Luckily, 3 days later Maddie was taken out of the coma and she can now breathe on her own. However, she still needs oxygen at night for the tightness in her chest.
Maddie shared photos of herself online to warn people of the dangers of vaping and encouraged people to quit.
She wrote, “I am sharing my story so you all are aware that there is something crazy in these pens that is not safe and almost cost me my life. I used to just tell myself it won’t happen to me, but it can and will happen to you too…take my advice, don’t smoke, don’t vape. #vape #stopthevape.”
Maddie’s story went viral just a few days after another young person passed away from vaping.
Vaping is being promoted as a safe alternative to traditional cigarettes, but that’s pretty questionable.
“We only have evidence for short-term and in the short-term it’s definitely harmful. I think we should be more cautious. The potential for lung disease down the line is still there and we need to recognise that rather than bury our heads in the sand by only focusing on the benefits and the way it helps people give up smoking.” Doctor Aaron Scott from the University of Birmingham, said.