A teen from Tennessee has spent five days on life support and still has to use oxygen for her weakened lungs after a four year e-cigarette ‘addiction’.
Julia Roberts, 18, started vaping at 14 when her school friends started using them and says she quickly became ‘addicted’, going through a disposable e-cigarette every two weeks.
Four-and-a-half years of regular use took a huge toll on her lungs and on January 7 she was hospitalised struggling to breathe.
Roberts, from Mount Pleasant, Tennessee, claims chest x-ray revealed that years of constant vaping had damaged her lungs and this, coupled with a serious reaction to a ‘fake’ disposable containing a ‘toxic chemical’, caused her to develop pneumonia.
Concerned doctors put Roberts on life support for five days and despite a ‘miraculous’ recovery, she remains on oxygen 24/7.
Now recovering at home, Roberts, who has since vowed never to vape again, was told she’s still at risk of having a heart attack due to the strain on her weak lungs.
Juliet Roberts, 18, has vowed never to vape again after being put on life support due to lung damage and pneumonia that she claims doctors said was caused by puffing on electric cigarettes
Roberts, from Mount Pleasant, Tennessee, was put on life support (pictured) for five days and despite a ‘miraculous’ recovery, she remains on oxygen 24/7
The waitress, who is on sick leave for the foreseeable future, has now shared shocking photos of herself on life support to warn people how ‘dangerous’ vaping is.
Roberts said: ‘I woke up feeling like I had a cold and just really didn’t feel good and as the days progressed I started feeling worse. Three days later, I was sitting in my room and I went to stand up and I fell back down because I couldn’t breathe, I thought I was going to pass out.
‘I called my boyfriend and told him I needed to go to the emergency room because I could tell something was wrong. As soon as they checked my vitals three nurses rushed in because my oxygen was so low – they couldn’t believe I was walking.
‘After getting all the testing done my condition started worsening very quickly and I don’t remember much after that. From what I’ve been told they put me on a ventilator and when that wasn’t enough they put me on life support.
‘The doctors told me that if I hadn’t made it there that night I would’ve lost my life. It was very scary. They told me I was basically dying, I’m so glad I went to the hospital when I did.’
Now recovering at home, Roberts was told she’s still at risk of having a heart attack due to the strain on her weak lungs and remains on oxygen
After being admitted to the ER department of TriStar Spring Hill, Roberts was then transferred TriStar Summit Medical Center the same day.
The teen was repeatedly tested for Covid-19, flu and strep throat to rule them out before having an ECG and PET scans to check her heart rhythm and look for cancerous cells.
But it was a chest x-ray that found the root of the problem – the years of constant vaping had damaged her lungs and led her to develop pneumonia that was making it difficult for her to breathe.
The infection made her lungs appear white on the x-ray rather than the typical black depiction of healthy soft tissue.
Roberts spent a total of 12 days in hospital recovering, including five on life support.
She said doctors believe that her weakened lungs, from the long-term use of vapes, had been overwhelmed by suffering a reaction to a chemical in a ‘fake’ vape.
Roberts said: ‘When you get a lung x-ray it’s supposed to be black and the only white you’re supposed to see is your ribs.
‘But my x-ray you could almost not even count some of my ribs because of how white it was. That was because of the damage from the vape and the pneumonia which I got from vaping.
‘They think I maybe got hold of a fake disposable and I had a bad reaction to it because of some type of chemical that was in it and it just made my lungs want to stop working.
‘They said obviously with how consistent I was with vaping it made the condition worse as well.’
Doctors kept the teen in the intensive care unit for another five days after she woke up from being on life support as she was still on too much oxygen to be moved – using 15 litres a day.
She says doctors told her she made a ‘miraculous’ recovery to even be off life support that quickly, as they initially predicted she would be on it for a week.
Roberts was then treated with a nebuliser machine three times a day that administered misted antibiotics to her lungs to help them recover and strengthen.
After being discharged from hospital she remains on oxygen around the clock and is still having nebuliser treatments at home twice a day with a long road to recovery ahead of her.
Doctors kept Roberts in the intensive care unit for another five days after she woke up from being on life support as she was still on too much oxygen to be moved – using 15 litres a day
Roberts has been told she will be out of work for between three to 12 months depending on when her lungs are strong enough to breathe by themselves and stop putting a strain on her heart.
During this recovery she also has to be careful to avoid catching any illnesses that could further strain her weak lungs, making the ongoing Covid pandemic a big worry for her.
Roberts said: ‘I got sent home on two litres of oxygen but sometimes I’ll bump myself to a three if I’m going to walk up the stairs or do anything that exhausts me because my oxygen will drop on two.
‘Right now my lungs are working so hard that if I overdo myself I’m at risk of a heart attack – my heart rate jumps to 150 when I go up the stairs, which is very dangerous.
‘My lungs will never go back to what they were before, they will just get strong enough for me to breathe on my own again.
‘They told me leaving the hospital that if I even got a common cold I’d end up right back where I was because of how weak my lungs are at the minute. My friends had to get covid tests to come and see me just to make sure it was safe.’
Roberts said doctors have warned her that because of the lasting damage done to her lungs, using a vape again could kill her.
After her traumatic experience the teen, who vows never to vape again, now hopes to encourage others to quit, insisting ‘it’s not worth it’.
Roberts said: ‘I haven’t hit one since the day I went to the hospital and I don’t plan on doing it ever again. The doctor told me that it would end my life and that’s all the information I need to quit for good.
‘I just want people to know that it’s really not worth it. I want it to be known that it is as dangerous as people say it is and it’s a lot more common than people think it is.’