Young vaper who required double lung transplant shares warnings as e-cigarette sales rise

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Young vaper needing double lung transplant warns against e-cigarettes amid rising sales

Rising E-Cigarette Use Among Youth Sparks Health Crisis: A Survivor's Story

 

Young vaper who required double lung transplant shares warnings as e-cigarette sales rise

MINNEAPOLIS – E-cigarette sales are surging, and young people are at the forefront of this trend. Data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reveals that individuals aged 18 to 24

 

are the most frequent users, but concerningly, 9% of youths between 11 and 15 years old also report regular vaping habits.

 

Jackson Allard, a 22-year-old from North Dakota, nearly lost his life due to his vaping addiction. Now, he's sharing his harrowing experience to warn others about the dangers of e-cigarettes.

 

The CDC has highlighted that vaping can lead to addiction and cause permanent lung damage. Allard's story is a stark illustration of these risks. Last October, he developed parainfluenza, which progressed to pneumonia and then acute respiratory distress syndrome, leaving his lungs filled with fluid.

 

After spending three months in the hospital, Allard became eligible for a lung transplant. He now participates in weekly rehabilitation sessions with other transplant recipients, a group where he is the youngest by far. "I'm the youngest person by far, so it's a little weird," Allard said.

 

Allard endured 70 days on ECMO, a life support system, and faced a mere 1% chance of survival. In January 2024, he underwent a double lung transplant—a rare procedure for someone his age.

 

"The first thing that went through my head was, ‘Can I live a normal life after this?’" Allard recalled.

 

Allard and his family, who reside in Fargo, North Dakota, are currently renting an apartment in Minneapolis for his recovery. His rigorous post-transplant regimen includes twice-weekly rehabilitation, weekly bloodwork, and maintaining a PICC line for long-term medication. He takes 30 pills daily, and his family administers his IV medication.

 

Believing vaping to be the cause of his lung failure, Allard and his grandmother, Doreen Hurlburt, have been vocal about the dangers. "When I first started vaping, I was probably 14. I was pretty much non-stop doing it," Allard said, noting that he also used marijuana vapes later on. He now advises others to consider marijuana gummies instead of vaping.

 

Hurlburt, who consistently voiced her concerns about Allard’s vaping, quoted multiple doctors: "If you smoke cigarettes for 50 years, we'll see you with lung cancer, and if you vape for five years, we'll see you with permanent lung damage."

 

Allard's post-transplant life involves strict limitations—he can't drink alcohol, smoke, or be in crowded places due to his weakened immune system. "It's the social aspect that I'm kind of worried about," he admitted, as his friends, who just turned 21, frequent bars.

 

Dr. Brooke Moore, a pediatric pulmonologist at Children’s Minnesota, has observed numerous cases of vaping-related lung injuries. "We've seen kids who have been vaping for short periods of time, and not necessarily with heavy use, come in with pretty significant lung injury from that," Moore said.

 

Moore pointed out that while long-term data on vaping is lacking, the short-term risks appear comparable to, if not worse than, those of traditional cigarettes. Her patients, typically aged 16 to 19, often vape both THC and nicotine.

 

Many of Moore's patients use vaping as a form of self-medication for underlying mental health issues such as anxiety and depression. "It shows there is a much bigger issue at play than just people vaping to vape," she emphasized.

 

In 2019, an outbreak of e-cigarette or vaping product use-associated lung injury (EVALI) was linked to vitamin E acetate in vaping products. By February 2020, over 2,800 cases had been reported in the U.S., with 68 deaths. The CDC stopped tracking EVALI cases in 2020, but concerns persist. Dr. Christy Sadreameli from Johns Hopkins Children’s Center remarked, "If you were to ask me how many cases of EVALI happen every year in the U.S., we don't know that anymore."

 

Many vape products remain on the market without FDA approval or review. Sadreameli warned, "They're kind of on the market without approval and without undergoing review. So that's kind of messed up."

 

Symptoms of vaping-related lung injury include coughing, shortness of breath, chest pain, fever, or gastrointestinal issues. Experts advise that individuals experiencing these symptoms should consult a doctor promptly. There are also cessation support groups and programs available to help those who wish to quit.


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CRN News Update - Latest Breaking News: Young vaper who required double lung transplant shares warnings as e-cigarette sales rise
Young vaper who required double lung transplant shares warnings as e-cigarette sales rise
Young vaper needing double lung transplant warns against e-cigarettes amid rising sales
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