Smoking and vaping: NHS shows difference between the two
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Julia Roberts, 18, started smoking e-cigarettes with her school friends four years ago. Ms Roberts, from Mount Pleasant in Tennessee, soon became addicted, going through a disposable e-cigarette every two weeks. The vaping, however, has taken a serious toll on her health, as the young woman found out this January.
After suffering a serious reaction to a fake vape that contained a toxic chemical, the 18-year-old was rushed to hospital struggling to breathe on January 7.
She was diagnosed as suffering from pneumonia, which doctors claimed had been brought on by damage caused to her lungs from her vaping habit.
She said: “I woke up feeling like I had a cold and just really didn’t feel good and as the days progressed I started feeling worse.
“Three days later, I was sitting in my room and I went to stand up and I fell back down because I couldn’t breathe, I thought I was going to pass out.
“I called my boyfriend and told him I needed to go to the emergency room because I could tell something was wrong.
“As soon as they checked my vitals three nurses rushed in because my oxygen was so low – they couldn’t believe I was walking.
“After getting all the testing done my condition started worsening very quickly and I don’t remember much after that.
“From what I’ve been told they put me on a ventilator and when that wasn’t enough they put me on life support.
“The doctors told me that if I hadn’t made it there that night I would’ve lost my life. It was very scary.
“They told me I was basically dying, I’m so glad I went to the hospital when I did.”
The teen, who works as a waitress, spent a total of 12 days in hospital, five of which were in intensive care.
X-rays have revealed the extensive damage to her lungs caused by her vaping.
She remains on oxygen around the clock and has been warned she may die if she starts to vape again.
Julia has also been warned that a simple cold could put her back in hospital.
She said: “My lungs will never go back to what they were before, they will just get strong enough for me to breathe on my own again.
“They told me leaving the hospital that if I even got a common cold I’d end up right back where I was because of how weak my lungs are at the minute.
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“My friends had to get Covid tests to come and see me just to make sure it was safe.”
A growing number of experts have become increasingly concerned about the long term effects of smoking e-cigarettes.
Official figures show that as of September 2019, 530 cases of lung injury and seven deaths due to vaping have been reported in the US.
Symptoms of vaping-related lung injury include rapid onset of coughing, breathing difficulties as well as nausea and vomiting.
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