LOMA LINDA (CBSLA) — The Centers for Disease Control said nearly 2,000 vaping-related lung injuries and 37 deaths have been reported across the country to date, and the Journal of the American Medical Association published a study Tuesday that found 1 in 4 high school students and 10% of middle school students reported that they vape.
For 15-year-old Zane Martin, it was the variety of flavors that hooked him.
“The taste,” he said. “Doughnuts.”
Martin was first introduced to vaping at a Desert Springs skate park.
“I mean, I’m pretty good,” he said. “I can do a 360. I can do a foot plant.”
Martin was telling his story from inside a room at Loma Linda Children’s Hospital where he spent three weeks in the intensive care unit and still remains in a hospital bed due to the critical injuries he received after vaping.
“I wish I had never done it,” he said.
Dr. Michael Avesar, a pediatric critical care physician at the hospital, has been treating Martin for a severe vaping-related lung injury.
“He had what we call air leak,” Avesar said. “That’s when air can get out of the chest cavity, so into the chest and neck area.”
Along with his lung injury, Martin had developed a MRSA infection after being sent home from a different hospital with an inhaler and some Tylenol to treat his symptoms. He later collapsed in pain and was almost completely unable to breathe .
“When I tried to stand on my leg, it felt like it was about to snap,” Martin said.
The teen underwent multiple surgeries, and when he was transferred to Loma Linda, doctors had to put him in a medically induced coma an insert a breathing tube to begin healing his lungs.
Martin’s doctors said they believe the teen’s lungs will heal fairly well, but there was no way to tell what kind of long-term damage he might have.
As for Martin, he said he had no idea about the risk of vaping and said he wanted other kids to learn from his mistakes.
“It was very bad,” he said. “I could have lost my life.”