By Robert Winthrop – Updated May 21, 2024

A mother claims that vaping led to a severe respiratory infection, leaving her lungs “fried” and resembling those of an 80-year-old. Hannah Roth, from Newport, Tennessee, first noticed something was wrong when she heard a “popping” sound as she breathed in. This alarming symptom developed after four years of daily vaping.

Roth, 30, had never smoked before but picked up vaping as a coping mechanism during the stressful pandemic lockdown. She quickly found herself vaping “every hour of the day.” Last month, Roth developed a fever of 104°F (40°C), which, combined with the troubling “popping” sound in her lungs, prompted her to seek medical help.

Doctors eventually diagnosed her with pneumonia, which they attributed specifically to her vaping habit. The revelation was horrifying for Roth, a mother of two. Scans revealed her lungs looked like those of someone in their 80s or a heavy smoker of many years. “The doctor threw my menthol vape in the trash and warned that I would die if I continued the habit,” Roth recounted.

“The doctor told me if I kept using the vapes, I wouldn’t be able to breathe. It was quite scary as a mother. I knew I couldn’t vape again as I’ve got two kids to take care of,” she added.

Pneumonia can develop from inhaling oily substances found in e-liquids, triggering an inflammatory response in the lungs. The doctor described her lungs as looking like a “tree with branches,” a condition known as “tree budding,” indicating severe lung deterioration.

Initially misdiagnosed with the flu, Roth’s condition worsened, and she returned to the hospital’s emergency department. There, doctors discovered the true cause of her distress: pneumonia caused by vaping. “I started vaping during the Covid pandemic. The stress of being stuck in the house led me to pick up on a bad habit one night. I just got addicted to it,” Roth explained.

Reflecting on her ordeal, Roth expressed deep regret. “I was really mad at myself because I had no idea that vaping could do that. The doctor told me every time I was hitting that vape, the vapor was frying my lungs like hot chicken. That’s why it was making a popping sound when I was breathing.”

Determined to care for her seven and ten-year-old sons, Roth has vowed to stay away from vaping and hopes her story will warn others. “I’ve been vape-free ever since I went to the hospital, and my lungs aren’t making the popping sound anymore. The doctor said if I stop vaping, my lungs will be able to heal as long as I don’t vape anymore,” she said.

Though she still gets cravings, Roth now chews gum to resist the urge to vape. Her message to others is clear: “Just don’t vape, don’t pick it up and hit it. Even if you think you have control over it, sometimes you just don’t.”

Roth’s experience highlights the potential dangers of vaping and serves as a cautionary tale for others. Her resolve to quit and her determination to protect her health and her children’s future is a powerful reminder of the importance of making healthy choices.

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