We’ve known for decades that smoking is terrible for your health. Countless studies have proved certainly that smoking cigarettes is correlated with lung disease and cancer.
But what about “vaping?” Using e-cigarettes has become the big smoking trend of the past few years, and brands like Juul have been heralded as a healthier alternative to Big Tobacco.
It’s a dubious claim: because it’s such a new trend, studies are limited on the health effects of vaping. Even worse, vaping has attracted a younger generation, particularly teens, who are drawn to the promise that they aren’t as bad as traditional cigarettes.
However, one college student’s story proves that there is still a big danger in smoking Juul pods—and he’s trying to warn his peers and encouraging them to quit.
Chance Ammirata, an 18-year-old freshman at Florida International University in Miami, picked up his first Juul about a year and a half ago. He says he had never smoked, and wouldn’t have smoked a regular cigarette.
“I’ve never smoked cigarettes,” Chance told The Daily Mail. “It’s the Juul.”
But Juul pods still contain addictive nicotine, and eventually Chance was going through a pod every two days, the equivalent of 10 cigarettes in terms of nicotine content.
“Everyone was doing it… and the problem was no one was saying they were addicted, just using it occasionally when they were stressed, so it was different from a cigarette,” Chance says.
“Cigarettes are totally disgusting garbage, but when it came to Juul, [people thought], Juul is perfect, there are no health repercussions, nothing bad can happen.”
But recently, Chance started feeling sick and uncomfortable. While out bowling with friends, he realized he was having a medical emergency.
“It felt like my chest was collapsing, like I was having a heart attack,” Chance told Daily Mail.
He was rushed to the hospital. A team of doctors informed him that his left lung had collapsed. The teen nearly died. He underwent surgery to restore his lung, and doctors revealed his smoking was the cause.
“When they did the actual major surgery to reinflate my lungs, the surgeon said, ‘whatever you’ve been smoking has been leaving these black dots on your lungs.’”
PLEASE RETWEET THIS IS EFFECTING THE WORLD AND WE ARE THE ONES WHO CAN EFFECT CHANGE. DO NOT STOP SHARING SAVE LIVES. I WILL BE THE EXAMPLE IF IT MEANS NO ONE ELSE NEEDS TO BE ! pic.twitter.com/AeYBPT9fUS
— Chance Ammirata (@Chanceammirata) August 5, 2019
Chance avoided a brush with death and he will make a steady recovery, but the black dots will take years to heal. But the teen is still left with health effects he never thought he’d be dealing with at his age—even worse considering he’s a busy, active college student.
“I wanted to get into cross country, because I love running, but the doctor said that’s definitely not an option,” Chance said.
“He said running occasionally is okay after a month or two of healing, but constant running is just not going to be on my agenda, and that really sucks, because I’m 18, and that really sucks to have that happen so young.”
Needless to say, Chance won’t be returning to smoking. But he’s also made it his mission to inform others in his generation that vaping is no joke, and can have serious health effects.
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This whole experience is absolutely insane and life changing (disclaimer I don’t always look this bad just when I’m glued to the hospital bed for 8 days) I came into this experience completely negative mad at the world , and scared of how things were gonna turn out after my lung collapsed. But I decided to take this negative and completely find another meaning. I decided that spreading my story could help others not have to go through the same thing as me. One by one reading each message from every single one of you explaining how I was able to CHANGE YOUR MINDSET I was able to help you throw out your juul. Makes you realize enough is enough and that nicotine is rotting our brains and destroying our bodies. It overcame me with emotions. I’ve never been happier to make such a difference. My surgery to get my chest tube removed is scheduled in around 2/3 hours and I’m insanely nervous. But I want to make sure my story is always out there. And that the change doesn’t stop. Every day we need to fight to help not only ourselves but the ones we love put down the nicotine. This epidemic has taken enough. We don’t need more evidence telling us just how bad it is. How many more kids are going to have to get hospitalized for us to stop !? None should be the answer don’t take this with a grain of salt. And keep on pushing yourselves to take control of these cravings. I know it’s hard , and I know it will be a long one/2 weeks of getting over the addiction. But 1/2 weeks is so much more worth it than a lifetime of consequences. #lunglove #stopjuul #revolution #wewillmakeachange #wearenotcontrolled edit: hole* reference to third slide. (If you would like to support us please donate to our nonprofit www.lunglovefoundation.org where we are fighting to raise money in order to educate teens about the dangers of vaping.)
“Juul is really manipulating it like it’s okay, and it’s not and there’s not enough evidence, but I feel like it’s my responsibility as a victim to let people know it isn’t safe,” Chance said.
Since his hospital stay, Chance has been active on social media, posting warnings on his Instagram and Twitter, encouraging people to quit and throw away their Juul pods.
“Every day we need to fight to help not only ourselves but the ones we love put down the nicotine,” he wrote on Instagram. “This epedemic [sic] has taken enough. We don’t need more evidence telling us just how bad it is. How many more kids are going to have to get hospitalized for us to stop!?
He has been posting videos of followers destroying their vapes, using the hashtag #lunglove.
— Chance Ammirata (@Chanceammirata) August 9, 2019
It took generations of commonplace cigarette smoking for the terrible health effects to be fully known. Chance doesn’t want his generation to go through the same thing.
And his mission is working: he says he’s gotten messages from over 100 people, saying he’s inspired them to quit vaping.
“If I can keep doing that, that’s what I’m going to do… I don’t want anyone else to end up in the hospital like this,” Chance told Daily Mail.
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