There’s been a debate on the health effects vaping has had on one since its conception. But so far, what is factual and what’s complete hearsay? A 20-year-old woman, Abby Flynn, has been diagnosed with bronchiolitis obliterans. More commonly referred to as ‘popcorn lung,’ which she believes is due to her vaping habit.
Although she had never smoked a cigarette before, she picked up vaping around 18 months ago and went through disposable vapes at a rate of one a day. This equates to roughly 140 cigarettes per week and costs her £135 per month.
An avoidable, horrible diagnosis due to vaping set Abby straight
As a result of her vaping, Abby developed a severe cough that made it difficult for her to breathe. She eventually had to be hospitalized. The medical staff at Milton Keynes University Hospital provided her with oxygen, underwent several x-rays, and prescribed medication. Afterward, they diagnosed her with bronchiolitis obliterans.
This rare disease causes the formation of scar tissue in the lungs, which blocks airflow and causes breathing difficulties. The doctors advised Abby that if she continued vaping, she would require a machine to breathe within ten years. This revelation served as a powerful ‘wake-up call’ for Abby.
Abby urges others to give up vaping
She said: “You get addicted without realizing it. I was going through one vape a day without fail for about a year and a half, which is the equivalent of 20 cigarettes per vape. I had it in my hand when I was driving. I’d be asleep and wake up and it would be in my hand. It was just constantly attached to me. The doctor said that if I didn’t stop vaping within the next year or two, I’ll be on an oxygen machine when I’m 30. It was a bit of a wake-up call.”
“When the doctor said it was caused by vaping I was quite shocked because all my friends vape, everyone from 18 to 25, a lot of people always carry a disposable vape around.” She explained. So for it to happen to me and not anyone else I know, I was a bit like ‘what?’ I think you kind of look past the dangers. I think it shocked a lot of people. My best friend threw her vape away as soon as I went into the hospital.”
“I think a lot of people think that it’s not going to happen to them.” She added: “Vaping is really not worth it. I struggle with my chest every single day now and I know a lot of other people do as well and they’re still vaping. “I’d urge people to throw their vapes in the bin. I know a lot of people use them as stress relief because you get a nicotine rush from it, and that’s all fine but just reduce how much you use it. I think because it’s always in your hand, it’s not like a cigarette where you go out and light it. That’s why people use them so much.”
Already suffering from asthma, why did she take a chance?
Abby has been asthmatic since she was nine years old, but during her visit to a walk-in center, she was convinced that her breathing difficulties were not due to an asthma attack. She disclosed that her best friend threw her vape away after learning about her condition. She has been taking eight steroids every morning until she could get an appointment with her doctor.
Abby cautioned against the use of vapes, stating that it was not worth it and that despite many people believing that it will not happen to them, it happened to her. She advised people to dispose of their vapes and minimize their usage. Other vaping enthusiasts have also had similar alarming health issues and abandoned the substitute for cigarettes.
Read: Car goes up in flames when driver smoking cigarette uses hand sanitizer
What is popcorn lung?
“Popcorn lung,” which is also known as bronchiolitis obliterans (BO), is a rare ailment resulting from damage to the small airways in the lungs. BO was initially observed among workers in popcorn factories who became ill. The culprit was identified as diacetyl, a food additive used in microwave popcorn to replicate butter flavor.
Diacetyl is frequently incorporated into flavored e-liquid to enhance its flavor. Inhaling diacetyl results in inflammation and may cause permanent scarring in the smallest airway branches, leading to breathing difficulties, or popcorn lung. There is no permanent cure for popcorn lung. Nevertheless, treatments that manage BO symptoms include coughing, wheezing, chest pain, and shortness of breath.
Lipoid pneumonia differs from typical pneumonia caused by an infection in that it results from the entry of fatty acids into the lungs. When individuals inhale oily substances present in e-liquid, it triggers an inflammatory reaction in the lungs, resulting in vaping-related lipoid pneumonia. It looks pretty bad for vapers out there if you ask me.
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- “Expert Warns Vape Users Of Serious Risk Of Popcorn Lung That Can Be Fatal.” Lad Bible. Shola Lee. July 16, 2022.
- “Girl so ‘attached’ to vape she fell asleep with it claims she’s got ‘popcorn lung’.” Tyla. Joe Harker. February 16, 2023
- “What Does Vaping Do to Your Lungs?” Hopkins Medicine. Stephen R Broderick, M.D.