Teen's lung collapses after vaping for a year
A Florida student has warned of the dangers of vaping after his lung collapsed.
Chance Ammirata, 18, smoked around one Juul pod every two days - which equated to 10 cigarette's worth of nicotine a day over an 18 month period. But when he went to hospital for what he thought was a strained muscle, he discovered that it was, in fact, a collapsed lung.
Like many people who chose to vape, the student believed it was safer than smoking cigarettes. In fact, the UK's NHS website describes vaping and e-cigarettes as "[carrying] a fraction of the risk of cigarettes".
The 18-year-old first realised that something was wrong when he tried to fall asleep last Monday, but couldn't because of a pain in his left side. Prior to this, he had been bowling with a friend, and so assumed that he'd strained a muscle.
In an interview with the Daily Mail, he said: "I remember she made me laugh and it felt like my chest was collapsing, like I was having a heart attack."
Over the next five hours, the pain Ammirata was experiencing worsened as doctors worked to diagnose him. "Seven surgeons came in," he continued, "and it's scary when you see seven surgeons come in."
"You think they’re going to tell you you have like five days to live."
However, he was told that his right lung had collapsed, and they would need to operate immediately to save his life.
This involved inserting a tube into Ammirata's lung to re-inflate it. After this, surgeons had to fix the damage the vaping caused.
He continued: "When they did the actual major surgery to re-inflate my lungs, the surgeon said, 'Whatever you've been smoking has been leaving these black dots on your lungs.'"
While the surgeons were able to fix the collapsed lung, there was nothing they could do about the black spots, which Ammirata could have for the rest of his life.
"I've never smoked cigarettes - it's the Juul," he said.
The teenager has chosen to share his stories to warn of the dangers of vaping, adding: "I really didn't believe in addiction or that it could affect me or that I could get addicted until I did."
"And then I suffered the consequences of my decisions."
This incident is a direct contraction to how Juul and other e-cigarette brands market themselves - as a safer alternative to cigarettes.
Prof Martin McKee of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine said: "The nicotine in e-cigarettes in not a harmless drug and then there are all these other things such as flavorings that are inhaled.
"We haven't had e-cigarettes for long enough to know the true effects. But when we look at the evidence we do have, there's enough grounds for serious concerns."