News of one scary vaping experience follows another. Days after authorities confirmed a Florida man died when his vape pen exploded, sending projectiles into his brain, a study published in the journal Pediatrics tells of an 18-year-old Pennsylvania woman who ended up in an emergency room with a cough and stabbing chest pains after trying vaping for only a few weeks. The condition of the unnamed woman with mild asthma only worsened after she was given antibiotics. She eventually suffered respiratory failure and had to be put on a breathing machine because "she was unable to get enough oxygen into her blood from her lungs," one of her doctors, Daniel Weiner of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, tells CNN. The woman also required tubes in her chest to drain fluid from her lungs—a result of hypersensitivity pneumonitis, otherwise known as wet lung.
The condition is marked by an inflammation of the lungs caused by an allergen, like dust. In this case, doctors blame the chemicals in the e-cigarette the woman used, perhaps including propylene glycol, glycerin, and nicotine. Casey Sommerfeld, another of the woman's doctors, notes the immune response to such irritants "can lead to increased inflammation and 'leaky' blood vessels, which can lead to fluid accumulation in the lungs." However, the study authors note "this is the first reported case of [wet lung] and acute respiratory distress syndrome as a risk of e-cigarette use in an adolescent, and it should prompt pediatricians to discuss the potential harms of vaping with their patients," per the Sacramento Bee. Given a drug for severe allergic reactions, the woman in this case was back to breathing on her own after five days. ("Dripping" is another vape-related concern.)