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“It Was A Nightmare Come True”: 12-Year-Old In Coma After Vaping Made Her Lungs “Too Weak”
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“It Was A Nightmare Come True”: 12-Year-Old In Coma After Vaping Made Her Lungs “Too Weak”

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A 12-year-old girl named Sarah was recently hospitalized and placed in an induced coma after vaping made her unable to fight off a lung infection.

Her mother, Mary Griffin, has shared the story as part of Northern Ireland Chest Heart & Stroke’s (NICHS) vaping awareness campaign, with the aim of informing people about the dangers of vaping and preventing similar situations.

In an interview with Belfast Live, Mary explained that Sarah started feeling unwell and began coughing while getting ready for bed one evening. However, since her daughter is asthmatic, Mary dismissed her symptoms as a regular cough.

Image credits: Northern Ireland Chest Heart & Stroke

The situation worsened the following morning. Though Sarah’s cough initially seemed to settle after being given her inhaler and nebulizer, the 12-year-old had to call her mother and tell her to take her to the hospital.

Since Mary was dropping off her two younger siblings at school, it was Sarah’s father who rushed her to the Royal Victoria Hospital.

There, Mary received a worrying phone call from Sarah’s dad.

“The next thing I knew, Sarah’s dad phoned me to say Sarah was in Resus,” the mother said.

“I went to the hospital, and Sarah was just in a blind panic, she was terrified. She was on oxygen and was linked up to all sorts of machines.”

After analyzing X-ray scans, the doctors found that one of Sarah’s lungs was “very injured.” In addition to having dangerously low oxygen levels, they found that one of her lungs was infected.

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Medical experts explained that asthma and electronic cigarettes had been a “dangerous combination”

Image credits: Northern Ireland Chest Heart & Stroke

“There were medical staff all around her assessing her and they said she needed to go to the ICU as she was deteriorating very quickly.”

After working for four and a half hours, the medical staff decided to place Sarah in an induced coma, a situation that made her mother feel “helpless” and “terrified.”

The doctors informed Mary that vaping had been an aggravating factor to her daughter’s critical state. In the hospital, she was told that the electronic cigarette and asthma had been a “dangerous combination.”

“The doctors explained that if Sarah hadn’t been vaping, she would have been in a better position to fight off the infection,” Mary said.

After three days, Sarah was brought out of her coma and had her ventilator removed.

“We want other young people to see the potential impact vaping can have as it will hopefully make them think twice about doing it,” Sarah’s mother said

Image credits: Northern Ireland Chest Heart & Stroke

The doctors suggested that had the 12-year-old arrived at the hospital later than she did, she may not have survived. “The doctors said if Sarah had got to hospital any later the outcome would have been entirely different. That is something I can’t even think about.”

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While she’s currently at home with her family, Sarah is still recovering from the events, both physically and mentally, and isn’t yet “back to her usual self.” 

For the rest of her life, Mary said, the girl will be classed as a “high-risk patient.”

Now, the mother wants to do everything in her will to ensure that other children and their families don’t go through the same situation.

“We want other young people to see the potential impact vaping can have as it will hopefully make them think twice about doing it,” she said. “The photos of Sarah in ICU are hard to look at, but we think it’s important young people see these and get a better understanding of the possible dangers.”

The 12-year-old was brought out of her coma after three days but is still recovering from the events, both physically and mentally

Image credits: Northern Ireland Chest Heart & Stroke

She also warned people of the risks of getting carried away by the vaping trend and its appealing marketing. “Young people are attracted to the bright colors and flavors of vapes—they might smell and taste sweet, but people need to know about the potential dangers associated with them.”

Recently, Fidelma Carter, head of public health at NICHS, has spoken out to debunk a popular myth regarding electronic cigarettes: that vapes are harmless compared to regular cigarettes.

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“This is not true, and this message needs to change to prevent more young people from taking up and getting addicted to vaping because they think they are risk-free,” the health expert said.

“The long-term health implications are unknown—just as they once were with tobacco.”

In the UK, four in five smokers have started by the age of 20

Image credits: Sven Kucinic (not the actual photo)

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has shared his intention to ban electronic cigarettes for younger generations, saying that the packaging and flavors are purposely targeted towards youngsters in a region where four in five smokers have started by the age of 20.

People reflected on the incident and the use of electronic cigarettes

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Marina Urman

Marina Urman

Writer, BoredPanda staff

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Marina is a journalist at Bored Panda. Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, she holds a Bachelor of Social Science. In her spare time, you can find her baking sweet treats, reading, or binge-watching a docuseries on Netflix. Her main areas of interest are pop culture, literature, and education.

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Marina Urman

Marina Urman

Writer, BoredPanda staff

Marina is a journalist at Bored Panda. Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, she holds a Bachelor of Social Science. In her spare time, you can find her baking sweet treats, reading, or binge-watching a docuseries on Netflix. Her main areas of interest are pop culture, literature, and education.

Mantas Kačerauskas

Mantas Kačerauskas

Author, BoredPanda staff

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As a Visual Editor at Bored Panda, I indulge in the joy of curating delightful content, from adorable pet photos to hilarious memes, all while nurturing my wanderlust and continuously seeking new adventures and interests—sometimes thrilling, sometimes daunting, but always exciting!

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Mantas Kačerauskas

Mantas Kačerauskas

Author, BoredPanda staff

As a Visual Editor at Bored Panda, I indulge in the joy of curating delightful content, from adorable pet photos to hilarious memes, all while nurturing my wanderlust and continuously seeking new adventures and interests—sometimes thrilling, sometimes daunting, but always exciting!

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hopkins-tamytha avatar
Awesome At Being Autistic
Community Member
8 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Yeah I live in Belfast and saw this on Belfast Live the other day. I'm honestly not surprised, there are so many kids here vaping, and really it has to be with the parents knowing or even buying their kids vapes, because the kids are so young that there is no way vape shops are selling to them. My daughter and son have asthma and there is no way I'd let them vape, I wouldn't even light scented candles around them. Parents need to wise the bap and educate themselves about asthma and vaping.

c-edink avatar
Nemo
Community Member
8 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I read an article about kids selling illegal vapes to other kids. These are highschool kids that have a side hustle. They buy illegal vapes from China and sell by word of mouth. The illegal vapes are much stronger, more dangerous and cheaper. Kids don't buy this in stores. If this is on the parents it's because they never learned the kid to man up to group pressure. "Just say no, because I said so" isn't working on most teens.

Load More Replies...
fox744 avatar
Christina Kerr
Community Member
8 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Her mum said she didn’t vape that much. Seriously? She shouldn’t be vaping at all.

corrinetodd avatar
frinny
Community Member
8 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I absolutely Hate vapes, all that fuss about a vaccine and this stuff is still marketed at kids! god knows whats in there

Load More Comments
hopkins-tamytha avatar
Awesome At Being Autistic
Community Member
8 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Yeah I live in Belfast and saw this on Belfast Live the other day. I'm honestly not surprised, there are so many kids here vaping, and really it has to be with the parents knowing or even buying their kids vapes, because the kids are so young that there is no way vape shops are selling to them. My daughter and son have asthma and there is no way I'd let them vape, I wouldn't even light scented candles around them. Parents need to wise the bap and educate themselves about asthma and vaping.

c-edink avatar
Nemo
Community Member
8 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I read an article about kids selling illegal vapes to other kids. These are highschool kids that have a side hustle. They buy illegal vapes from China and sell by word of mouth. The illegal vapes are much stronger, more dangerous and cheaper. Kids don't buy this in stores. If this is on the parents it's because they never learned the kid to man up to group pressure. "Just say no, because I said so" isn't working on most teens.

Load More Replies...
fox744 avatar
Christina Kerr
Community Member
8 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Her mum said she didn’t vape that much. Seriously? She shouldn’t be vaping at all.

corrinetodd avatar
frinny
Community Member
8 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I absolutely Hate vapes, all that fuss about a vaccine and this stuff is still marketed at kids! god knows whats in there

Load More Comments
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