Maddie Nelson, an 18-year-old from Nephi, Utah, believed vaping to be harmless because it’s often advertised as such. That was until she experienced the damage vaping can cause when she developed a rare lung disease. Now she wants to raise awareness on the dangers of this habit.
Maddie told Fox31 KDVR that she had been using vape pens daily for three years, as did many of her friends, without thinking that there may be any negative consequences. She said she initially started with no-nicotine options and raised it to 3 milligrams. “I used all sorts of different products, from all sorts of vape shops across Utah County,” she stated.
However, while her symptoms were slow to emerge, they turned out to be serious. She first began feeling nauseous, then she suffered from stomach pain and experienced vomiting. Then things came to a head a few months later, in July 2019, when her family took her to hospital with a high fever and difficulty breathing. Her situation was so bad that they had to transfer her to a second hospital, where doctors put her in a medically induced coma.
After she woke up, the hospital staff told the teenager what the most likely cause for her condition was: “definitely from vaping,” as she explained, as per KDRV.
“I had fat particles growing inside my lungs that were related to the glycerin in vape juice,” she said. “They said that my chest X-rays were one of the worst they’ve ever seen.”
Maddie was then diagnosed with a rare condition called acute eosinophilic pneumonia. She recalls how her physicians told her that the vapor inhaled when vaping creates an ideal habitat for bacteria to grow and infection to start building up inside the lungs.
After her scary ordeal, the brave teenager stated that she “would never touch a vape again.” She then wrote a compelling post on Facebook, describing her horrific experience and urging people to stop the damaging habit.
“I am sharing my story, so you all are aware that there is something crazy in these pens that is not safe and almost cost me my life,” the post said.
“I used to just tell myself it won’t happen to me, but it can and will happen to you too. Learning to walk again after being in bed for a week is not worth the risk of catching a small buzz. I’m writing this to warn all my friends because I know most of them vape, IT CAN HAPPEN TO YOU.”
The love and support my family has been receiving through the last week has been absolutely amazing. Maddie is awake &…
Maddie’s sobering post garnered some 1,000 shares on social media, and one of her family members started a GoFundMe page to help the young girl with the cost of her medical treatment.
As vaping is such a new phenomenon and gained so much traction, people are not yet fully aware of its long-term effects on the human body.
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“We only have evidence for short-term and in the short-term it’s definitely harmful. I think we should be more cautious,” Dr. Aaron Scott from the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom told Metro UK.
Vaping has become popular in recent years, especially among teenagers. Maddie’s story is an important warning to be careful about what we put in our bodies regardless of how it’s advertised.