Jason Flanders never listened to his mom’s warnings about vaping — until the Manhattan teen landed in the intensive care unit.
“I was super sick,” he recalled. “I was in the hospital for 17 days.”
Jason had been vaping since he was 15, but his age didn’t matter to the smoke shop in Chelsea where he bought his mango-flavored Juul, a lawsuit alleges. In 2012, the state banned the sale of e-cigarettes to those under 19. Last year, the age limit was raised to 21.
“They’re making money off kids, and killing them,” said mom Sherry Cosovic, who is suing Smoking N Vaping Corp. on Ninth Avenue. “All they care about is reaping the benefits and making money off of it.”
Jason suffered a raft of medical problems from his vaping habit, including acute kidney failure and possibly permanent lung damage, according to Manhattan Supreme Court papers.
The ordeal began just before Thanksgiving, when Cosovic came home to find her son in bed after attending a party.
“All the lights were off, he was in bed, under two comforters, boiling hot,” she recalled. “I thought the worst, ‘Did someone slip him something? Is he getting high?’”
The next day her son was vomiting, so Cosovic went to urgent care, where “they claimed it was a virus,” she said.
Jason’s condition worsened so rapidly, she rushed him to the hospital, where his symptoms were recognized as a new form of pneumonia associated with vaping.
“If I hadn’t brought him in, he would have died,” Cosovic said.
“His lungs have been permanently affected,” Cosovic’s attorney, David Jaroslawicz claimed.
A shop manager denied the allegation, claiming the store’s sales system requires them to electronically verify a customer’s ID.
Jason had to be sedated for two weeks to help his lungs heal and doesn’t remember much of his time in the ICU.
“I was hallucinating,” he said.
He wishes now he had listened to his mom’s pleas to quit the dangerous habit.
“I just didn’t think it was that serious. Do not Juul at all. It will kill you,” he said.
Now, with the coronavirus sweeping the city, Jason has been self-isolating.
“We’ve bunkered in. No interaction with anyone,” said Cosovic.
Kathianne Boniello/New York Post