In a deeply unsettling account, a woman who relinquished vaping recounts her harrowing encounter with severe pneumonitis, an ailment that left her lungs aflame with sensations of burning and itching.
Lucy Turchin, hailing from Washington, US, first grappled with bouts of breathlessness in the year 2019, an affliction she described as struggling for air, though she did not initially correlate it with her vaping habit until the symptoms intensified.
Initially, despite making multiple visits to emergency rooms in hospitals, the 35-year-old alleges that medical practitioners attributed her symptoms to psychosomatic origins. It wasn’t until February 2023 that she received a definitive diagnosis of pneumonitis, the result of her vaping, as confirmed by numerous doctors.
As an influencer with a substantial following of 50,000 on TikTok (@ilovelucypt), Lucy is now committed to disseminating awareness about the perils of vaping, amassing an impressive 34.6 million views for a recent video clip.
Lucy, a student, recounted her experience, stating, “It felt as if an immense weight was pressing down upon my chest, and my capacity to inhale was greatly diminished.” She recollected that initially, this occurred only when she reclined, which led her to consider that one of her sleep medications might be the culprit. The notion of linking it to vaping never crossed her mind.
“However, the situation deteriorated,” she added.
“I sensed an absence of air flowing into my lungs, and this propelled me to frequent the emergency room.”
“I would articulate my symptoms to the medical professionals, who would then proceed with X-rays and oxygen assessments, only to declare that everything appeared normal.”
“This generated heightened anxiety within me.”
“I started visiting the ER on a daily basis, sometimes even more frequently. I was resolute in my belief that I could not continue living in this manner; I was resolved to persist until a solution was found.”
Regrettably, Lucy’s medical insurance coverage was soon exhausted, resulting in her incurring a substantial debt of £24,000 ($30,000 USD).
Throughout the months leading up to her diagnosis, she continued to vape.
“I felt as if I was being dismissed under the shadow of medical bias, often deemed hysterical when I sought assistance for my suffering,” she lamented.
“I persisted with vaping because it served as a source of solace, and I had placed my trust in medical opinions.”
“I quit long before my eventual diagnosis. Since I had never previously encountered health issues, I eventually deduced that vaping was the plausible cause. Within half a year of quitting, I began to feel better.”
“However, during an evening spent with friends, where I consumed a drink and decided to try my friend’s vape, the effects were immediate. My lungs swelled up, and the discomfort I experienced intensified to a degree tenfold. It was akin to knives within me.”
“I had resigned from seeking medical intervention until February, when exposure to a vape cloud led to a severe flare-up.”
During this particular hospital admission, a physician ordered a high-resolution CT scan that confirmed an acute case of pneumonitis—lung tissue inflammation—a condition Lucy fears may be a lifelong affliction.
To alleviate her symptoms, she is undergoing treatment with steroids, although Lucy has been informed by doctors that the steroids will not offer a complete cure for pneumonitis.
“At that moment, my mother was in the hospital room with me, and tears of relief flowed as we finally had a name for my suffering.”
“I felt as if I could envision a future in which I could live and function once more.”
For Lucy, the mission to raise awareness is of paramount importance, even when faced with dissenting opinions regarding the harmfulness of vaping.
“Nicotine addiction is a progressive ailment. Shaming individuals for their addictions is unconstructive; instead, I am endeavoring to construct a narrative that imbues my suffering with purpose.”
“This is my approach—by assisting others.”
“I cherished my vape; it was a constant accessory, and I vaped throughout the day. Astonishingly, within less than a year, my health was compromised.”
“It bewilders me that some of my closest friends continue to vape.”
“The repercussions of this crisis will define our generation’s health landscape.”
In one of Lucy’s recent TikTok posts, she discloses her newfound reliance on a wheelchair for long-distance travel due to her diminished lung capacity, evoking a mixed reaction among social media users.
The video rapidly amassed 34.6 million views and 3.9 million likes.
Ron Barclay opined, “Hmmmm, 10 years and no issues here, even with my asthma.” [sic]
Maja added humorously, “Oh no takes a puff.” [sic]
Daymon expressed his perspective, “I’ve been vaping for years, and I have no issues.”
Callum nonchalantly stated, “Whoops, I don’t care. I’ll keep vaping.” [sic]
Gemini shared, “I just disposed of all my vape equipment today.”
Oli reflected, “Many comments here are attempting to rationalize.” [sic]