Teen on life sup­port linked to va­p­ing sick­ness

The Prince George Citizen - - Health -

She had de­cided that day to put down the va­p­ing de­vice, but it was al­ready too late.

After va­p­ing for two years as an al­ter­na­tive to smok­ing cig­a­rettes, 17-year-old Whit­ney Liv­ingston came down with a fever that landed her on life sup­port, her mother told Fox4News.com.

“She could have al­most died,” Jen­nifer Au­das told Fox4News about her daugh­ter. “And her oxy­gen had al­ready dropped all the way. There was pneu­mo­nia in both lungs. The doctor said that it looked like no pneu­mo­nia he’d ever seen.”

Liv­ingston’s illness comes as health of­fi­cials scram­ble to un­der­stand a wave of se­ri­ous lung dis­eases af­flict­ing more than 450 oth­er­wise healthy peo­ple who use eci­garettes, which mimic smok­ing by heat­ing liq­uids with sub­stances such as nico­tine or marijuana. Six deaths have been at­trib­uted to va­p­ing, and U.S. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump said Wed­nes­day he would move to ban most fla­vored e-cig­a­rettes.

Liv­ingston, a high school senior who works as a restau­rant host­ess, is be­ing treated at a hospi­tal in Dal­las after she be­came sick about two weeks ago, Fox4News re­ported. At first, the re­port says, her symp­toms re­sem­bled those of a stom­ach virus: a fever, a cough and rapid breath­ing.

She im­me­di­ately knew what was hap­pen­ing. Liv­ingston had read about a spate of va­p­ing-re­lated ill­nesses and deaths across the coun­try, Fox4News re­ported, and she un­der­stood the risks of us­ing the e-cig­a­rettes.

Doc­tors, how­ever, are not sure that va­p­ing caused Liv­ingston’s illness, CBS Dal­las/ Fort Worth re­ported.

Au­das told Fox4News that when her daugh­ter revealed she had been smok­ing cig­a­rettes, Au­das had thought va­p­ing would be a bet­ter al­ter­na­tive.

“You think: cig­a­rettes, you’re go­ing to get can­cer, so this is much health­ier,” Au­das told Fox4News. “Be­cause that’s the way it’s por­trayed.”

Liv­ingston’s health is im­prov­ing, the news sta­tion re­ported, but the fam­ily is un­sure of what lies ahead for her.

Although e-cig­a­rettes have been on the mar­ket for more than a decade, re­ports of ill­nesses ac­cel­er­ated this year after pa­tients re­ported cough­ing, ch­est pain or short­ness of breath. Many peo­ple have been di­ag­nosed with acute res­pi­ra­tory dis­tress syn­drome, a life-threat­en­ing con­di­tion in which fluid builds up in the lungs.

As The Washington Post’s Han­nah Knowles pre­vi­ously re­ported: “Of­fi­cials are still try­ing to fig­ure out what, ex­actly, is caus­ing peo­ple to fall ill. They think chem­i­cals are to blame.

“The fo­cus of our in­ves­ti­ga­tion is nar­row­ing, and that is great news, but we are still faced with com­plex ques­tions in this out­break that will take time to an­swer,’ said Ileana Arias, CDC act­ing deputy di­rec­tor for non­in­fec­tious dis­eases.

“The na­tion­wide in­ves­ti­ga­tion has found no par­tic­u­lar va­p­ing de­vices or prod­ucts linked to all cases and is look­ing into po­ten­tial con­tam­i­na­tion or coun­ter­feit, as many vic­tims re­port buy­ing marijuana on the street rather than from a store,” the re­port con­tin­ued.

The pop­u­lar­ity of va­p­ing has soared in re­cent years as young peo­ple in par­tic­u­lar take to the practice.

More than half of users are younger than 35 years old, ac­cord­ing to a study pub­lished in the An­nals of Internal Medicine.

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