THURSDAY, Aug. 22, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Chance Ammirata was a vaper for almost two years. But three weeks ago, the 18-year-old began to have trouble breathing.
“I would say my chest felt like it was collapsing and tightening up, and I couldn’t breathe,” he told CBS News. After going to the emergency room, doctors told him his right lung had a hole in it and they would have to put a chest tube in immediately. Two days later, a surgeon repaired the hole.
Ammirata believes his vaping was the culprit behind his collapsed lung, and he has since started a social media campaign called #LungLove to convince other teens to throw away their e-cigarettes.
“I decided that spreading my story could help others not have to go through the same thing as me,” he explained on his Instagram account.
Ammirata is not the only American to have landed in the hospital with vaping-related lung troubles recently.
Late Wednesday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its tally of such cases to 153, spread across 16 states. These cases have emerged in a relatively short timeframe — from June 28 through Aug. 20, the agency said in a statement.
Cases have so far been recorded in California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Michigan, North Carolina, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, and Wisconsin, the CDC said.
Some patients have had so much trouble breathing that they wound up on a ventilator in their hospital’s intensive care unit (ICU), said Dr. Albert Rizzo, chief medical officer for the American Lung Association.
Public health officials in Wisconsin, Illinois, California, New York, Indiana and New Jersey are tracking the most cases, CNN reported.
“We do have to be careful [to say] that this has not been linked to any specific device, or any specific chemical that might exist in a device,” the ALA’s Rizzo said. “The commonality is it’s mainly young people who’ve supposedly been vaping who ended up having respiratory symptoms.”