A TEENAGE vaper who warns that vaping left him with the lungs of a “70-year-old” is suing a leading e-cigarette maker.
Adam Hergenreder, 18, accused Juul of deliberately marketing to young people and sending the message that vaping is cool.
Adam who started using e-cigarettes when he was 16, recently shared a shocking video of him “randomly convulsing” where he said it felt like he was “having a stroke”.
Lawyers filed a lawsuit in Lake County Circuit Court on behalf of the teen who was hospitalised at the end of August for about a week after complaining of nausea and laboured breathing.
The 85-page suit alleged that Juul Labs conveyed in advertisements and through social media campaigns that kids could boost their social status by vaping.
It also claimed Juul never fully discloses that their products contain dangerous chemicals.
His lawyer, Antonio Romanucci, said: “To put it mildly, Adam didn’t stand a chance to avoid getting hooked on these toxic timebombs.”
Adam says he started to feel unwell last month but dismissed it as stomach flu.
After three days of uncontrollable shivering and vomiting, his mum Polly took him to hospital in Illinois, US, where he was put in intensive care.
Initially docs didn’t connect his symptoms with vaping and he was given anti-nausea medication, but the vomiting didn’t stop.
They then carried out a CT scan of his stomach and noticed something unusual about the lower part of his lungs so decided to do an X-ray.
Adam told CNN: “That’s when they saw the full damage.”
Doctors said that if his mum hadn’t brought him into hospital within the next two or three days he could have died.
She sat by his side for the next six days in hospital where he was connected to IVs and oxygen.
A disturbing video of him lying in his bed on the ward hooked up to tubes shows his body convulsing as he struggles to breathe.
Dr Stephen Amesbury, a pulmonologist and critical care physician at Advocate Condell Medical Center in Illinois, told the broadcaster: “If his mum 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.
“It was severe lung disease, especially for a young person. He was short of breath, he was breathing heavily.
“It was very concerning that he would have significant lung damage and possibly some residual changes after he heals from this.”
Adam, who has since been discharged from hospital but is still recovering, is urging people not to vape.
He said: “I don’t want to see anybody in my situation. I don’t want to see anybody in the hospital for as long as I was.”
The teen admits he took up the habit to “fit in”, adding that “everyone else was doing it”.
Adam said: “It didn’t taste like a cigarette. It tasted good.”
He said the flavours appealed to him, especially mango, and the nicotine provided a buzz.
It didn’t taste like a cigarette. It tasted good
“He would wake up in the morning and would puff on that Juul and then cough,” said mum Polly.
“He would hit it several times throughout the day. My son was going through a pod and a half every other day, or a day and a half.”
Eventually, he went from vaping over-the-counter e-liquids to vaping THC, the psychoactive component of marijuana.
But it was soon after that he started to feel unwell and eventually ended up in hospital.
Adam said: “If I had known what it was doing to my body, I would have never even touched it, but I didn’t know. I wasn’t educated.”
San Francisco-based Juul said in a statement that it’s “never marketed to youth” and has ongoing campaigns to combat underage use.
It added that its products are meant to help adult smokers wean themselves off traditional paper-and-tobacco cigarettes, which Juul called “the deadliest legal consumer product known to man.”
Among the precautions Juul said it’s taken to ensure young people aren’t drawn to its e-cigarettes was to close Juul’s Facebook and Instagram accounts.
The firm said it has also deployed technology that restricts a sale until someone’s age is verified.
What are the dangers of vaping in the UK?
In the UK, e-cigarettes are tightly regulated for safety and quality.
They’re not completely risk free, but they carry a small fraction of the risk of cigarettes.
E-cigarettes do not produce tar or carbon monoxide, two of the most harmful elements in tobacco smoke.
The liquid and vapour contain some potentially harmful chemicals also found in cigarette smoke, but at much lower levels.
While nicotine is the addictive substance in cigarettes, it’s relatively harmless.
Almost all of the harm from smoking comes from the thousands of other chemicals in tobacco smoke, many of which are toxic.
Nicotine replacement therapy has been widely used for many years to help people stop smoking and is a safe treatment.
There’s no evidence so far that vaping causes harm to other people around you.
This is in contrast to secondhand smoke from smoking, which is known to be very harmful to health.
His ordeal follows a spike of mysterious and life-threatening lung diseases – believed to be linked to vaping – over the summer.
In the US, six people are now reported to have died from vaping-related lung illnesses.
The latest person to die was in their 50s and from Kansas.
They were in hospital “with symptoms that progressed rapidly”, but also to have had a history of underlying health issues.
While more than 450 people, mostly otherwise healthy and in their teens or 20s, have shown up at hospitals with breathing difficulties.
Often they’ve also suffered with vomiting, fever and fatigue for several days prior.
Some have even ended up in intensive care on a ventilator for several weeks.
MORE ON E-CIGARETTES
It’s prompted health bosses to issue a warning while they investigate the issue.
The US’s health protection agency, the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said earlier this month that people should “consider restraining from using e-cigarette products”.
So far, officials say the cause is unknown, but they are carrying out investigations.
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