Shocking scans show how smoking e-cigarettes left a 19-year-old’s lungs filled with solidified vape oil and rendered him unable to breathe on his own.
Anthony Mayo, 19, of Erie, Pennsylvania, became seriously ill last week. He struggled to breathe, looked pale and felt sick, his parents say.
Doctors found his lungs were severely congested with the solidified vape oil, which they compared to hardened grease from cooking bacon.
It had caused Anthony, who has vaped for around two years, to have ‘the lungs of a 60-year-old, two-pack-a-day, smoker’.
Vaping works by heating liquid in a tank and turning it into steam to be inhaled – but some oil droplets may be left over as the liquid cools back down in the airways.
He remains in hospital after his oxygen levels plummeted to dangerously low levels and medics fear he may never make a full recovery.
Anthony’s father is speaking about his son’s condition amid a spate of vaping-related deaths in the US over the past few weeks.
Health officials today confirmed an eighth person – a man in his forties from Missouri – had died from a vaping-related illness.
Shocking scan images show how smoking e-cigarettes left a 19-year-old’s lungs filled with solidified vape oil and left him unable to breathe on his own
Another scan of Anthony Mayo’s lungs are shown in this photo shared by his mother
Anthony Mayo, 19, of Erie, Pennsylvania, became seriously ill due to his vaping habit
Doctors are caring for Anthony at the Millcreek Community Hospital, where he is on oxygen support.
They are pumping heated oxygen with moisture into Anthony’s lungs to help liquefy some of the solidified oil.
This will cause Anthony to cough up some of the liquid – which is brown, dark green and occasionally blood-tinged, his father Keith said.
He told Metro US: ‘His whole spin on it was it was cool and not that bad for you. I was just as guilty. I went along with it. I never got into it, but I didn’t also prevent it either.
‘He is going to have some scarring. Whether it’s profound, we don’t know yet. It’s a wait and see type of thing. He’s young, he’s 19, so he can recover from this.’
Keith added: ‘As the doctor says, anytime you put moisture into your lungs its not good. It’s solidified. It’s caking everything inside of his lungs.’
Keith wrote on Facebook on Thursday: ‘Not everyone is affected the same by this vaping.
‘His GF [girlfriend] has vaped the same stuff for four years. Was she affected – NOPE! If it was poisoned or tainted, she would be affected also.
Anthony Mayo is pictured here with relatives before he fell ill
Anthony’s father, Keith Mayo, said his son thought vaping was ‘cool’
‘My goal is to get this info out there. Because of this, I know that six people have quit and gotten rid of their vaping equipment.’
Anthony’s mother, Tanya, who has set up a fundraising page, shared the scan on Facebook.
She wrote: ‘A warning for those in denial. This is what vaping looks like when your otherwise healthy 19-year-old is admitted into the ICU.
‘Left lung [is] about 80 per cent congested and right is about 50 per cent, oxygen level was 37.
‘According to the doctor this is showing areas that have essentially solidified like bacon grease.
‘The pulmonary doctor said he had seen dead people with a higher oxygen level. A full recovery is uncertain… Only time will tell.’
HOW VAPING COULD SOLIDIFY LIQUID IN THE LUNGS?
Keith Mayo said: ‘As the doctor says, anytime you put moisture into your lungs its not good.
‘It’s solidified. It’s caking everything inside of his lungs.’
Rising numbers of people who vape are reporting mystery lung-related illnesses.
Vaping works by heating liquid in a tank and turning it into steam to be inhaled.
But some oil droplets may be left over as the liquid cools back down in the airways, it could clog the lungs.
This is believed to cause breathing problems and lung inflammation.
Lipoid pneumonia is being increasingly linked to the use of e-cigarettes, according to the University of Utah Health Hospitals and Clinics.
The form of lung inflammation develops when lipids, of ‘fat molecules’ enter the bronchial tree, and is typically seen when people accidentally inhale oil when it goes down the ‘wrong pipe’ instead of their food pipe.
Anthony was first taken to the hospital on Sunday, September 8 after he had developed a cough.
Doctors assumed he had bronchitis and gave him antibiotics, saying he should recover in a few days.
Two days later, Anthony had become pale and looked sick, so he returned to the emergency room.
Doctors feared he may have developed a mild form of pneumonia, which inflames the lungs and may fill them with fluid.
They prescribed him a stronger antibiotic, a steroid and a ‘puffer’ to inhale medicine more quickly.
But he deteriorated further, spending all of Sunday night coughing before returning to hospital on the Monday.
According to Keith, tests revealed Anthony’s oxygen levels were at 36 per cent. Below 90 per cent is dangerous, according to The Mayo Clinic.
He revealed Anthony liked to try different flavors, and has previously vaped blue raspberry, Swedish fish, cotton candy and cinnamon toast crunch.
Anthony also vaped THC on occasions, which is the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana.
The shock of his son’s condition has caused Keith to consider how companies market their flavors to young adults or children.
Anthony’s story comes as health officials today confirmed an eighth vaping-related death in the US.
The man in his forties, from Missouri, had normal lung function until he started using the devices in May, health officials said.
He developed mild respiratory symptoms that slowly worsened and he was taken to hospital on August 22. He died yesterday.
The number of people sickened by vaping has risen to 500, according to figures by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
No specific brand or flavour of e-cigarette has been linked to any of the illnesses, which health officials are still investigating.
Peter Openshaw, professor of experimental medicine at Imperial College London, commented on the stark rise in mystery vaping-related illnesses.
He said: ‘There is no doubt that inhaling a range of substances – from diesel particulates to tobacco smoke- risks harming the lung.
‘It is well known that oils such as paraffin can cause problems because they can be inhaled without triggering protective cough reflexes, for example by fire-eaters and those taking liquid paraffin by mouth.
‘It seems possible that these case clusters are related to inhalation of oil or oil and water mixtures that cause immune activation and trigger both local inflammation in the lung (pneumonitis) and, in some cases, systemic inflammation.
‘Exactly why and how remains to be determined.’
Public Health England said the danger of vaping appears to have only affected the US so far.
Martin Dockrell, tobacco control Lead, PHE said: ‘A full investigation is not yet available but indications are that the US cases have been linked to people using illicit vaping fluid bought on the streets or home-made, some containing cannabis products like THC oil or synthetic cannabinoids like Spice, and others Vitamin E acetate oil.
‘This is not the same as using UK regulated nicotine products.
‘Unlike the US, all nicotine containing e-cigarette products in the UK are tightly regulated for quality and safety by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency.’
E-CIGARETTE DEATH TOLL RISES TO EIGHT IN JUST A MONTH
An Illinois man said to be using e-cigarettes to smoke THC died on August 24 after his lungs failed when he developed a mystery lung illness.
The second person to die after vaping was a ‘middle-aged’ Oregon resident.
They were said to have recently started using an e-cigarette containing cannabis oil from a legal dispensary and passed away sometime at the end of August.
A third victim in Indiana passed away from the mysterious lung disease in August.
The patient was described only as ‘elderly’ and little else is known about them.
The fourth victim, a 65-year-old man, died sometime in August but his death wasn’t confirmed until September 6.
Minnesota officials said the patient had been using the electronic devices to smoke THC.
A 55-year-old man from Los Angeles was the fifth person to lose his life after smoking the e-cigarettes. He died on September 7.
A woman in her fifties was the sixth person to succumb to vaping-related illnesses.
The Kansas-born woman, who had a history of health problems, passed away on September 12.
A California man became the seventh person to pass away after using the devices. The 40-year-old from Tulare County died on September 17.
The Missouri man in his forties became the eighth victim to die from vaping.
He had normal lung function until he started using the devices in May.
The victim began experiencing trouble breathing which gradually got worse before he was taken to hospital in St Louis on August 22. He passed away on September 19.