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Vaping Teen Goes into Respiratory Failure

An 18-year-old developed wet lung and went into respiratory arrest three weeks after starting to vape. The young women entered the ER with stabbing chest pains and difficulty breathing, which got progressively worse until she went into respiratory failure and wound up on a ventilator.

Doctors diagnosed the young women with hypersensitivity pneumonitis, also called wet lung. In the case study, pediatrician Casey Sommerfeld said, “chemicals in the e-cigarettes led to lung damage and inflammation” which gradually worsened. Wet lung can cause permanent lung damage if not treated quickly. Wet lung has traditionally been associated with breathing certain irritants including:

  • mold that grows on hay, straw and grain,
  • bird feathers and droppings,
  • fungus from humidifiers, and,
  • water vapor from indoor hot tubs.

As of this date, respiratory irritants will also include:

  • E-cigarette vapor and associated chemicals

In response to the case, Dr. lona Jaspers, a professor in the Departments of Pediatrics and Microbiology and Immunology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, was quoted to say “e-cigarettes will cause negative health consequences that had not been seen with conventional cigarettes.” Dr. Jaspers, who was not involved in this case study, has released other findings that show e-cigarette use is linked to asthma.

In this case, the young women was lucky. She made it to the ER in time, was hyper-dosed with IV antibiotics, and was able to come off the respirator five days after admission.



About this Author

Domenic B. Sanginiti, Jr, Stark Law, Personal Injury Lawyer, Civil Litigation Attorney

Domenic B. Sanginiti, Jr. is an associate and member of the Accident & Personal Injury Group. He concentrates his practice in personal injuries arising from automobile, truck and motorcycle accidents, in addition to personal injuries claims resulting from slip and fall accidents and various other civil litigation matters.

Prior to joining Stark & Stark, Mr. Sanginiti, Jr. practiced personal injury for two South-Jersey law firms, where he defended casinos against personal injury claims, as well as defending health insurance carries against claims for benefits under ERISA.  He...