Parents warn other teens of vaping ‘nightmare’

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GREELY, Colo. — A mom of a University of Northern Colorado freshman pleading to other parents, after her daughter was hospitalized and nearly died due to side effects of vaping.

They were on their way to Greeley from Chicago when Piper Johnson started to feel ill. Mom, Ruby Johnson, said doctors originally believed it was pneumonia, but all labs came back clean for a virus or bacteria so now they are calling it “sudden and severe lung illness due to vaping.”

It’s the first case of it’s kind, ever in Colorado.

“Another day or two if I waited to bring her in she would have been unresponsive and on a ventilator,” Ruby said.

After seeing two doctors, the first question they asked was are you a smoker? no you’re not and doctors aren’t asking are you a vapor and that’s scary.

“She cried to her nurse she kept saying I can’t take a deep breath it hurts it feels like my lungs are on fire,” Ruby said.

Piper was admitted to the ICU, at the UCHealth Greeley Hosptial, where doctor’s determined it was “sudden and severe lung illness due to vaping.”

“I went in there Wednesday morning where she got 30 liters of oxygen and she was all swelled up,” Tim Johnson, he dad said.

While in the hospital Ruby said Piper’s resting heart rate was at 155 beats per minute and she was running over 102 degree temperature and they weren’t able to get her oxygen saturation above 90.

Ruby is just thankful her daughter is alive but said this is enough. It’s time for vaping companies to be held accountable for their products.

Ruby said the companies are making the vaping devices very discrete so kids are able to hide them from their parents and teachers.

“We’re seeing serious health issues pop up right now– at the worst we have people dying and at the very least we have millions of teens severely addicted to nicotine,” Ruby said.

A Colorado Springs vapor Ricky Torres said he can feel when he’s vaped too much. But he continues to vape despite the scary stories, like Pipers.

“Sometimes I do be vaping. I can feel it I’m like oh no leave it alone and sometimes I won’t vape for a day because I’m like it does mess with you it’s all bad,” Torres said.

He said he’s been smoking since he was a young teen and tried both vaping and cigarettes. He said he thinks vaping is better than cigarettes.

“When I smoked, I would be out of breath more often, but when I vape I am just spitting up more stuff always spitting up something because there is always something going in,” Torres said. “People are doing this to themselves so be grown.”

Piper’s parents want people to know from their personal experience vaping devices are just as dangerous as cigarettes.

“No one should touch them, no one,” Tim said.

Piper said she is feeling better, but she hopes there is no permanent damage from vaping. She has fully quit and is now focusing on getting good grades at UNC.

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