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Brittany Hambleton
Brittany Hambleton
April 17, 2024 ·  4 min read

Teen With Double Lung Transplant From Vaping Warning His Peers

There have been a number of health risks associated with vaping, including a condition known as EVALI, acute respiratory distress, cobalt lung, and even the, albeit remote, possibility of injury as a result of the pen exploding [1]. 

A seventeen-year-old boy became the first person to receive a double-lung transplant as a result of vaping. That boy was Daniel Ament, and he is now speaking out about his health to warn his peers about the dangers of the habit [2].

Daniel’s Story

Daniel was an A-student at Grosse Point North Highschool in Michigan. He was an athletic teenager with dreams of becoming a Navy Seal until he found himself fighting for his life after becoming gravely ill as a result of vaping.

“I spent 29 days on life support as a 16-year-old and I only had a 10 percent chance of survival,” he said [2].

One of Daniel’s surgeons explained at a press conference how shocked he was at the state of the teenager’s lungs.

“What I saw in his lungs is nothing I’ve ever seen before and I’ve been doing lung transplants for 20 years,” [2].

Daniel used to vape nicotine and occasionally marijuana, but was completely unaware of the damage he was doing to his body. Thankfully, he survived and is now speaking to students around the state, using his story as a cautionary tale for anyone else who is considering taking up the habit [2].

What Exactly is in a Vape Pen?

The e-liquid in a vape pen is primarily made up of propylene glycol or glycerin, and a small amount of water. When heated, it produces an aerosol that resembles cigarette smoke [3].

The trouble with vaping liquid is that since there is no federal agency to oversee the e-cigarette industry (of which vaping is a part), no standards exist to enforce accurate labeling or consistency between brands. The contents in one brand of e-liquid could be very different from another, with some containing toxic and carcinogenic chemicals [3].

Read: Every Time You Smoke, this is what You are Actually Consuming

The Risks of Vaping

There have been very few long-term studies conducted on the health risks of vaping and e-cigarettes, which means that we only now beginning to learn more about the negative effects of these devices.

“Most of what we know about e-cigarettes is from lab studies,” says Maciej Goniewicz, a toxicologist at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, New York,. “We don’t know about the real health effects on the users of this product, especially on long-term users.” [3]

Currently, the CDC is investigating several cases of severe pulmonary disease among people who use e-cigarettes or vaping pens [4]. Experts are still unsure if vaping is the direct cause of these lung problems, but they believe that it could be a result of chemical irritation or an immune reaction to various chemicals present in the e-liquid [5].

While there is still much we don’t know about the risks of vaping, there are a number of health effects that are most certainly a concern. The nicotine found in most vaping liquid is highly addictive and can affect the developing brain of a teenager or young adult. There have also been some substances found in e-liquid that have been linked to an increased risk for cancer. Vitamin E acetate, an additive in many vaping products has also been strongly linked to EVALI [5].

Making a Difference

Unfortunately, Daniel’s dreams of becoming a Navy Seal will never become a reality. The once-athletic teenager is now very thin, and must take twenty pills a day. He is pleading with his peers and other children to reconsider taking up the destructive habit. His message seems to be working.

After hearing Daniel’s story, eighth-grader Chloe has decided never to pick up vaping.

“Seeing someone close to me, it really just told me not to do it – like stay away,” she said.

Another eighth-grader, Gisele Bourbeau, now sees how dangerous vaping can actually be.

“I thought vaping was a healthy alternative to cigarettes,” she said. “But we’ve been looking at it a lot, and now I know that it’s close to or even more dangerous than cigarettes,” [2].

Daniel has now started a non-profit organization called Fight 4 Wellness that focuses on health and wellness, so he can continue to educate kids on the dangers of substance abuse [2].

This article was originally published February 12, 2020

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