DALLAS (KTVT/CNN) – A Texas teen is warning people about the dangers of vaping after his lung collapsed, leading to spending summer break in the hospital.
“Most people think that there’s simple water vapor and flavorings that taste good… but there’s so much more,” said Dr. Devika Rao, Children’s Health Pediatric Pulmonologist.
Fueled by a combination of clever marketing and the misconception that “safer” than tobacco is the same as safe, doctors say e-cigarette use among teens has reached epidemic proportions and they’re worried about what the cute names conceal.
“Things like nickel and and tin and lead, these are heavy metals that can do direct damage to the lungs,” said Dr. Rao.
Dr. Rao is a pediatric pulmonologist at Children’s Health in Dallas.
She joins a chorus of health professionals urging parents to warn their children about vaping.
“The nicotine contained in these products is very potent and the potential for nicotine addiction is so much more in young people compared to adults,” Dr. Rao said.
17-year-old Tryston ended up in the ICU at Cook Children’s in Fort Worth this summer on a ventilator.
Machines were keeping him alive.
Tests confirmed that he hadn’t picked up a bug, but he had been vaping.
“I woke up 6:30 the next morning, just throwing up everywhere, I could feel my heart just pounding out of my chest, you know going 100 miles per hour. I was doing these half breaths. I really couldn’t get the full breath in, even with the inhaler,” Tryston said.
Weak and still recovering, Tryston has sworn off vaping, and is now working to warn others.
“Obviously I was embarrassed at first, but really once I realized I was going to make it through and I was given that second chance, I just wanted to give that warning out to people,” he said.
The CDC is now investigating dozens of cases of lung disease in 14 states including Texas.