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Teen who nearly died after her lungs failed from vaping says she never thought of herself as smoker

A California teen who says she was put on life-support after her vaping habit caused her lung to collapse has said she never considered herself a smoker, on reflection of the terrifying incident. 

Simah Herman, 18, was rushed to the Los Angeles’ Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center on August 15 following complaints she was unable to breathe properly.

While doctors were stumped as to the reasons why, an X-ray of her chest would later show a white haze at the bottom of her lungs.

Her pulmonologist, Dr. Kathryn Melamed, thought she may be suffering from a case of pneumonia. However, less than 48 hours later, her lungs and became dangerously inflamed and were filled with fluid. 

‘I just remember feeling like absolute…nothing. Like I just couldn’t do anything,’ Herman to ABC’s Nightline. ‘I couldn’t drink water. I couldn’t move. Like, I literally just wanted to crawl out of my skin.’

Simah Herman, 18, was rushed to the Los Angeles’ Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center on August 15 following complaints she was unable to breathe properly

Herman said: 'It took less than 48 hours for me to be put in a drug induced coma and a tube put down my throat because I could no longer breathe on my own. The dangers of vaping are real and this can happen to you. Please don¿t let it.'

Herman said: ‘It took less than 48 hours for me to be put in a drug induced coma and a tube put down my throat because I could no longer breathe on my own. The dangers of vaping are real and this can happen to you. Please don’t let it.’

Still unable to breathe after two days in the hospital, Herman had to be put on a ventilator, and then, shorty afterwards, was put into a medically induced coma. 

While the teen was unconscious her cousin revealed to her parents one of Herman’s secrets that helped the family to gain some answers as to a possible cause for their daughter’s ailing condition.

‘She said, “You know she smokes every day?”’ Stacy Herman, Simah Herman’s mother recalled of the conversation. ‘I said, “What? What are you talking about?” And she said, “She smokes every day. She smokes that vape.” I said, “You tell the doctors right now. You go tell the doctors right now.”’

After five agonizing days, Herman emerged from her coma, with a ventilator still pumping oxygen into her failing lungs. 

She confessed to her parents that her cousin’s admission was true: she would easily smoke one vape pod every day, using the device as often as every 10 to 15 minutes. 

Herman, who has now decided to become an advocate against vaping, shared photos of herself inside the hospital in a post that’s now gone viral. 

It includes photos of Herman holding up signs that read ‘I want to start a no vaping campaign’, along with a photo of her unconscious with a tube down her throat. 

‘I asked for, like, a pen and paper because that was the only way I could communicate,’ Herman said. ‘And I wrote, ‘I want to start a no-vaping campaign.’ That was the first thing I did when I opened my eyes.’

Simah Herman, 18, shared the photos in an August 29th Instagram post that has been liked just under 600,000 times. The post includes photos of Herman holding up signs sharing her testimony along with a photo of her unconscious with a tube down her throat

Simah Herman, 18, shared the photos in an August 29th Instagram post that has been liked just under 600,000 times. The post includes photos of Herman holding up signs sharing her testimony along with a photo of her unconscious with a tube down her throat

Two weeks ago, the Long Beach resident started having trouble breathing and had to be put on a ventilator after her lungs failed in 48 hours

Two weeks ago, the Long Beach resident started having trouble breathing and had to be put on a ventilator after her lungs failed in 48 hours

Herman said she first started vaping at age 15, buying cartridges from a smoke shop despite being underage.

Prior to indulging in the habit, Herman had been happy and active, participating in dances classes for years. But the teen says she noticed a sharp drop in her abilities as her vaping habit intensified. 

Eventually, she was vaping a nicotine cartridge a day, with the total amount of nicotine in one cartridge equally that of a pack of cigarettes.

‘I didn’t think of myself as a smoker. Like, it’s just a different kind of smoke,’ Herman told ABC. ‘The vaping just makes it seem like nothing. Like you’re doing nothing wrong.’

In the two years since she started vaping, Herman says she’s lost 50 pounds because she felt sick all the time. She says she was often left feeling nauseous and dizzy. 

Herman said she first started vaping at age 15, buying cartridges from a smoke shop despite being underage. Prior to indulging in the habit, Herman had been happy and active, participating in dances classes for years.

But the teen says she noticed a sharp drop in her abilities as her vaping habit intensified.

Herman said she first started vaping at age 15, buying cartridges from a smoke shop despite being underage. Prior to indulging in the habit, Herman had been happy and active, participating in dances classes for years. But the teen says she noticed a sharp drop in her abilities as her vaping habit intensified

Herman's mother, Stacy (right), has accused Juul and other leading vaping brand of purposely gearing their products towards minors

Herman’s mother, Stacy (right), has accused Juul and other leading vaping brand of purposely gearing their products towards minors

'I didn¿t think of myself as a smoker. Like, it¿s just a different kind of smoke,' Herman told ABC. 'The vaping just makes it seem like nothing. Like you¿re doing nothing wrong.'

‘I didn’t think of myself as a smoker. Like, it’s just a different kind of smoke,’ Herman told ABC. ‘The vaping just makes it seem like nothing. Like you’re doing nothing wrong.’

Doctors were unable to offer her any diagnosis for her perpetual sickness, even though she told them she regularly vaped. 

‘I told every doctor that I went to just because I had such severe issues,’ she said. ‘I wanted to make sure that…wasn’t making anything worse, but no doctor ever said, like, “Maybe you should stop vaping.”‘  

Herman’s mother, Stacy, has accused Juul and other leading vaping brand of purposely gearing their products towards minors.

‘The fact that they market this crap to children, and they turn it into pink, pretty purple packaging [kind of] pisses me off,’ Stacy said. 

She asserted that vaping wasn't worth the health risk and advised that people talk with their loved ones about the dangers of using the products

She asserted that vaping wasn’t worth the health risk and advised that people talk with their loved ones about the dangers of using the products

‘I’m so angry that [Simah] can get a hold of this thinking it’s nothing wrong with it because everyone’s doing it. … It looks and smells like mango, and it looks and smells like bubblegum and her room smells delicious. I smell[ed] the packages. They smell great.’

Herman hopes her story reaches as many members of the public as possible, in a bid to discourage them from using e-cigarettes and vapes.

‘I tried it another time and then another time. It’s just remembering that you don’t need it. Like, it’s going to kill you.  

In her original Instagram post, Herman asserted that vaping wasn’t worth the health risk and advised that people talk with their loved ones about the dangers of using the products. 

‘I didn’t end up having pneumonia,’ the teen concluded in the post. ‘The signs of respiratory failure from vaping make it look like pneumonia, if they didn’t find that first I would have died.’

Herman’s story comes just days before a middle-aged Oregon man became the first death associated with a vaping product brought at a cannabis dispensary. 

Officials have not determined what made him ill in the first place, whether the product was contaminated or whether they may have added something to the liquid in the device after buying it, said Dr Ann Thomas with the Oregon Health Authority. 

As of last week, 215 possible cases of severe lung disease associated with the use of e-cigarettes had been reported by 25 states, according to the CDC. 

Herman's story comes just days before a middle-aged Oregon man became the second death related to vaping (stock)

Herman’s story comes just days before a middle-aged Oregon man became the second death related to vaping (stock)

Illinois officials on Friday reported what they consider the first death in the nation linked to vaping after the person contracted a serious lung disease. 

In New York state, 32 cases of vaping-related illness have been reported, with a ‘vast majority’ involving people who vape illicit marijuana. 

New York officials are focusing their investigation on an additive used in black-market vape oils made from vitamin E.

A state health department spokeswoman said a lab has found ‘high levels’ of vitamin E acetate in ‘nearly all’ the marijuana samples involved.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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