An 18-year-old woman working as a hostess in a rural Pennsylvania restaurant made a decision to try e-cigarettes, perhaps another of the innumerable bistro workers hoping to calm frayed nerves with a smoke - or in this case, a vape.
According to a case study recently published by the American Academy of Pediatrics on Thursday, the unidentified teenager was diagnosed with hypersensitivity pneumonitis (which is sometimes called wet lung), after trying an e-cigarette.
Other health experts are also concerned about juling, a specific e-cigarette that has become popular and trendy in the U.S. There are also discussions of how addictive nicotine can be, and how some vape users switch to tobacco cigarettes later.
After roughly three weeks of use, she developed respiratory symptoms and visited the emergency room at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. The report notes the patient had difficulty breathing, a cough, and pleuritic chest pain after using the vape. She developed respiratory failure with hypoxia and had to be intubated.
"She was unable to get enough oxygen into her blood from her lungs and required a mechanical ventilator to breathe for her until her lungs recovered", Weiner said.
ER doctors admitted the young woman to the pediatric intensive care unit after her coughing became more severe, and there she experienced respiratory failure.
Doctors also needed to insert tubes into the restaurant worker to drain fluid from her lungs. Dr. Casey Sommerfeld, the patient's doctor and a co-author of the study, told CNN chemicals in the e-cigarette vapor caused a reaction that led fluid to build up in the teens lungs. The symptoms were part of her body's immune response.
The woman was treated with an IV of methylprednisolone, a drug used to treat severe allergic reactions. Her condition improved rapidly and, after five days of treatment, she was removed from the mechanical ventilator.
The authors noted that this is the first reported case of its kind resulting from e-cigarette use in an adolescent.
"This is the first reported case of hypersensitivity pneumonitis and acute respiratory distress syndrome as a risk of e-cigarette use in an adolescent, and it should prompt pediatricians to discuss the potential harms of vaping with their patients, "the authors wrote".
With the medical risks of e-cigarettes still being investigated, a teen experienced first-hand health complications after vaping for just a short period of time. "In this way, e-cigarettes can be the gateway to smoking traditional cigarettes". Often believed to be safer than traditional smoking, is vaping truly without medical side effects?
Vaping has become popular in the USA as a recreational activity and smoking cessation device.
The nicotine in the e-cigarettes also had addictive components and can lead to other tobacco use.
The rapid spread of vaping was highlighted by a 2016 report from the United States surgeon general that cited a 900% increase in e-cigarette use by high school students from 2011 to 2015.