Young vaper who required double lung transplant shares warnings as e-cigarette sales rise


E-cigarette sales are climbing — and it’s primarily young people who are getting hooked. 

Those between the ages of 18 and 24 vape the most, but 9% of youth between 11 and 15 years old say they’re regular vapors, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

One of them, 22-year-old Jackson Allard of North Dakota, almost lost his life due to his vaping habit — and now he’s warning others of the dangers.

SMOKING CIGARETTES CAN DESTROY LUNGS, BUT SHOCKING NEW STUDY REVEALS WHY VAPING CAN HARM THE HEART

Besides leading to addiction, vaping can cause permanent lung damage, according to the CDC.

Last October, Allard developed parainfluenza, which led to pneumonia and then acute respiratory distress syndrome. His lungs were full of fluid.

Jackson Allard, pictured, was in the hospital for three months before he was healthy enough to qualify as a transplant recipient. Now he meets weekly with other lung transplant recipients for rehab. “I’m the youngest person by far, so it’s a little weird,” Allard said.  (Doreen Hurlburt )

“I was really sick, barely able to sleep, puking constantly,” Allard told Fox News. 

The young man was on ECMO, a form of life support, for 70 days. 

“I had a 1% chance to live,” Allard said. 

His lungs were damaged so badly that in Jan. 2024, he received a double lung transplant — a rare procedure for someone his age. 

SMOKING SHRINKS THE BRAIN AND DRIVES UP ALZHEIMER’S RISK, NEW STUDY FINDS

“The first thing that went through my head was, ‘Can I live a normal life after this?’” Allard said. 

Allard and his family live in Fargo, North Dakota, but they’re renting an apartment in Minneapolis while he recovers from his transplant. 

Twice a week, he attends rehabilitation and gets weekly bloodwork. He also gets his PICC line, a tube connected to his veins for long-term medication, cleaned each week. Allard takes 30 pills a day and his family is responsible for giving him his IV medication. 

“I had a 1% chance to live.”

Based on his doctors’ input, Allard and his grandmother, Doreen Hurlburt, believe vaping is to blame for his lung failure.

“When I first started vaping, I was probably 14. I was pretty much non-stop doing it,” Allard said. He later started using a weed vape as well. 

“I told my friend who smokes weed, I was like, ‘Be careful with that,'” Allard said, suggesting that people use marijuana gummies instead of vapes.

pic

“It’s just scary to know that we can make a misstep and cause something bad to happen,” said Doreen Hurlburt, Jackson’s grandmother, pictured here. (Mills Hayes/Fox News)

His grandmother, Doreen Hurlburt, said she complained daily about Jackson’s vaping habits.

“Multiple doctors said, ‘If you smoke cigarettes for 50 years, we’ll see you with lung cancer, and if you vape for five years, we’ll see you with permanent lung damage,'” Hurlburt told Fox News.

Allard can’t drink alcohol or smoke, and his weakened immune system means he has to avoid big crowds.

FIRST NEW ‘QUIT-SMOKING’ DRUG IN 20 YEARS SHOWS PROMISING RESULTS IN US TRIAL: ‘HOPE AND EXCITEMENT’

Dr. Brooke Moore, a pediatric pulmonologist at Children’s Minnesota, did not treat Allard but often sees patients with vaping-related lung injuries. 

“We’ve seen kids who have been vaping for short periods of time, and not necessarily with heavy use, come in with pretty significant lung injury from that,” Moore told Fox News.

jackson now scaled

Most of Allard’s friends just turned 21 and all go out to the bars — but after his double lung transplant, he’s not allowed to drink or be in crowded places. “It’s the social aspect that I’m kind of worried about,” he told Fox News. (Mills Hayes/Fox News)

The majority of the patients Moore sees with vaping-related issues are between 16 and 19 years old. 

Some patients have lung injury and others have milder respiratory symptoms. 

“We’ve done a very good job of educating youth about not starting to smoke traditional tobacco-based cigarettes,” Moore said. 

“With vaping products, we don’t have as much long-term data, but in the short term, the risk seems to be as high as cigarettes — and I would argue in some cases worse.”

US SCHOOLS INVEST MILLIONS IN SURVEILLANCE TECHNOLOGY TO COMBAT TEEN VAPING EPIDEMIC 

Moore said her patients typically vape THC and nicotine. 

“It doesn’t seem to be that vaping just nicotine or just THC is less of a risk for lung disease than one or the other,” she said. 

Most vaping patients have some underlying mental health concerns, such as anxiety, depression or a combination of those, the doctor noted. 

dr moore scaled

Dr. Brook Moore, pictured here, said patients will come in with a cough and shortness of breath due to vaping. “They’ve created flavors and advertising that mimics a lot of the things that kids, teenagers and young adults like to use,” she said about the manufacturers. (Mills Hayes/Fox News)

“They’re using their vape products to self-medicate,” Moore said. “It shows there is a much bigger issue at play than just people vaping to vape.”

In 2019, there was an outbreak of e-cigarette or vaping product use-associated lung injury, or EVALI. Those cases were linked to vitamin E acetate in vaping products. 

CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP FOR OUR HEALTH NEWSLETTER

As of Feb. 2020, more than 2,800 patients had been admitted to various hospitals in the U.S. due to EVALI, with 68 deaths reported. 

But in 2020, the CDC stopped tracking EVALI cases. 

That’s when Johns Hopkins Children’s Center Dr. Christy Sadreameli started to pay more attention.

A new study found that teens and young adults who vape have a much higher risk of COVID-19 infection than their peers. (iStock)

Many of the vape products commonly sold are “kind of on the market illegally,” a doctor warned. (iStock)

“If you were to ask me how many cases of EVALI happen every year in the U.S., we don’t know that anymore,” Sadreameli told Fox News Digital. 

“It’s definitely still out there. And I’m still concerned about it.”

Many of the vape products commonly sold are “kind of on the market illegally,” Sadreameli added.

“They’re on the market without approval and without undergoing review.”

“They haven’t gone through the FDA review or approval process, and it’s hard to enforce something like that. These things were already being sold,” she continued. 

“They’re kind of on the market without approval and without undergoing review. So that’s kind of messed up.”

Symptoms of vaping-related lung injury include coughing, shortness of breath, chest pain, fever or gastrointestinal symptoms, according to WebMD.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

If people who often vape are experiencing a combination of those symptoms, they should see a doctor as soon as possible, experts advise. 

Patients who want to quit can work with their doctor to make a plan. 

There are also cessation support groups and programs available.

For more Health articles, visit www.foxnews.com/health



Source link

About The Author

Scroll to Top