"Every Parent’s Worst Nightmare": Teen Has Lungs Of "70-Year-Old" Caused By Vaping For Over A Year

"Every Parent’s Worst Nightmare": Teen Has Lungs Of "70-Year-Old" Caused By Vaping For Over A Year

When Hergenreder initially started vaping, he was under the impression that it is safer than normal cigarettes, plus he thought vaping made nicotine taste better

Vaping has become a trend among teenagers and underage consumers alike, thanks to all the advertising that states they are much safer than regular cigarettes. Unfortunately, that's just a marketing tactic and these e-cigarettes are not taking a serious toll on people's health. According to People, a student-athlete still has difficulty climbing up the stairs after being hospitalized with “severe lung damage” caused by e-cigarettes. “My lungs were that of a 70-year-old’s,” Illinois teen Adam Hergenreder, who started vaping when he was 16, was told by the doctors, according to CNN.


The teen was hospitalized in August after days of persistent nausea and vomiting, and doctors were finally able to realize the full extent of the damage. “It was a severe lung disease, especially for a young person. He was short of breath, he was breathing heavily,” added Dr. Stephen Amesbury, a pulmonologist and critical care physician at Advocate Condell Medical Center.


“If his mom had not brought him to the hospital within the next two to three days, his breathing could have worsened to the point that he could have died if he didn’t seek medical care.” Describing her son as a “healthy” and “typical 18-year-old boy,” his mother Polly described her son’s health battle as “every parent’s worst nightmare.” When Hergenreder initially started vaping, he was under the impression that they are safer than normal cigarettes, plus he thought they tasted good. 


“He would hit it several times throughout the day,” Polly told CNN of her son’s vaping habits. “My son was going through a pod and a half every other day, or a day and a half.” “If I had known what it was doing to my body, I would have never even touched it, but I didn’t know,” the teen said, adding that “it was scary to think about” the damage “that little device” did to his lungs.


After being released from the hospital, Hergenreder still finds it “difficult to even do normal activities, like going up the stairs,” which leaves him tired. His future with sports is also in jeopardy. “I was a varsity wrestler before this and I might not ever be able to wrestle because that’s a very physical sport and my lungs might not be able to hold that exertion,” he told CNN. “It’s sad.”


So far, there have been six vaping-related deaths in the US.  The Trump administration announced its planning to crack down on vaping, especially when it comes to its use among teens. On Wednesday, CDC Director Robert Redfield said the health organization “strongly supports” the FDA’s plan to “finalize an enforcement policy that will clear non-tobacco-flavored e-cigarettes from the market.” 


“This is an important step in response to the epidemic of e-cigarette use among our Nation’s youth and will help protect them from a lifetime of nicotine addiction and associated health risks. Clearing the market of non-tobacco-flavored products is important to reverse this alarming epidemic,” he continued in a statement obtained by PEOPLE. “We must do everything we can to reduce the use of e-cigarettes among middle and high school students.”


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