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Vaping Can Cause Lung Disease, and Many Teenagers Are Being Affected

E-cigarettes are a popular alternative for smokers and vaping is believed to be a safer option to cigarettes as they do not produce tar or carbon monoxide. But recently, vaping has made headlines for a horror story involving a teenager who developed a rare lung disease.

Maddie Nelson, an 18-year-old female, was rushed to hospital after experiencing intense back pain, kidney pain, and a high fever, and once there, doctors discovered that she had acute eosinophilic pneumonia (a build-up of white blood cells in the lungs), The Sun reports. Nelson’s condition deteriorated and she was put into a medically-induced coma, and she claims she nearly lost her life. She also claims that doctors informed her vaping was likely the cause, which is why she is sharing her story and speaking out about the dangers of vaping—according to Nelson, she started vaping without nicotine three years ago, and then gradually increased to 3mg of nicotine.

The use of e-cigarettes is most popular with individuals under the age of 30, and according to Healthline, roughly 1 in 3 high school students admitted to vaping in 2018. Nelson’s ordeal is not an isolated incident among her age group either, and a college freshman also made headlines after his lung collapsed in 2019. He later admitted to vaping around one “JUUL pod every two days for a year,” CBS News reports.

Dr. Diana Zuckerman, president of the National Center for Health Research, told the news outlet that his case is “mind-boggling,” and added that the biggest problem with e-cigarettes and vapes is, "we don't know yet what the symptoms might be.” She adds, "Lung damage is what we're most focused on right now, but there's so much more going on. There are chemicals in Juul and e-cigs and we're not exactly sure what the impact is going to be because we haven't seen it before."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced in August of 2019 that “153 possible cases of severe lung illness linked to vaping were reported across 16 states in the past two months,” USA Today reports—although it should be noted that "many cases" involved products containing tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). According to the publication, Gregory Conley, president of the pro-vaping organization, American Vaping Association, has stated that street vapes containing THC or synthetic drugs have been “linked” to these illnesses.

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