As vaping-related illnesses rise around the country, one local teen is sharing his own terrifying experience and hopes it will encourage others to think twice before picking up a vape pen.
Zane Martin, 15, was admitted to the intensive care unit and placed in a medically induced coma, his mother and doctor told KTLA. He needed help breathing and doctors stated Martin had severe lung damage after just months of vaping.
“I just seen my friend doing it and I wanted to try – and I like the flavor, doughnut flavor – and I just kept it going,” Zane said.
After six months of vaping, the 10th grader ended up at Loma Linda University Medical Center, fighting for his life.
Elizabeth Martin, Zane’s mother, described the situation as any parent’s worst nightmare.
“He was in ICU, sedated, on a breathing machine. It was scary,” she said.
Dr. Michael Avesar stated it “took weeks” to get Martin back on track to good health.
“We had to put him in a medical coma, essentially. We had to use a breathing tube, put him on a ventilator. It took weeks. He had complications of how sick his lung was,” Avesar said.
Multiple friends of Zane’s have quit vaping after seeing what it’s done to him, his mother told the hospital.
Zane still needs more surgeries for what Avesar categorized as pulmonary lung injury. He called it part of a “very new and severe epidemic.”
California is no stranger to reports of young people falling ill due to using the popular e-cigarette pens or other vaping devices.
Just within the past months, Avesar said Loma Linda University Medical Center has treated 10 patients due to vaping-related health issues.
As of Oct. 3, according to the Los Angeles County Public Health Department, a total of one death and 21 cases of serious vaping-associated pulmonary injury were reported in L.A. County alone. Loma Linda is in San Bernardino County, which reported two illnesses through late August.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have reported 1,888 vaping-related illness cases across the United States, excluding Alaska, as of Oct. 29. A total of 37 deaths have been confirmed.
The data has apparently not deterred everyone. New research shows the number of teens who use e-cigarettes, specifically Juul, are slowly rising. The study states that the mint flavoring, which replaced the now-banned fruit flavors, has become popular with teens.
However, Zane’s message to everyone is clear: don’t do it.
“Don’t vape. Vaping is very bad for you. Unless you want to end up in the hospital, like me,” he said.
Kareen Wynter & Catherine Park/KTLA5