ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – A Tampa Bay area teen has a new perspective after spending weeks in the hospital due to a lung injury allegedly caused by vaping.
“At the time, I thought that nothing would happen,” said Alexander Barbieri, explaining that he had previously vaporized.
“I vaped nicotine. I think I’ve reached the majority of THC cartridges, ”he said.
The 18-year-old said in the spring that he got sick and was eventually having trouble breathing. Initially, he said there were concerns about COVID-19 even though he never tested positive.
Eventually he ended up in the Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital.
“We suspected there might have been a COVID infection at the same time, but we believe most of his symptoms were related to being a vaper,” said Dr. Anthony Sochet, part of the team that treated him.
Barbieri said he ended up in the hospital for almost three weeks.
“That could have been prevented if I hadn’t done it after I found out it was evaporating. I made it difficult for myself, but honestly it was just scary,” said Barbieri.
Dr. Sochet said vaping-related lung injuries are something that isn’t uncommon. Now it’s part of their screening for kids in an age group suspected of vaping.
“When the debate comes down to whether or not vaping is safe for the lungs, whether it contains nicotine or is otherwise flavored, the scientific community has pretty much determined that it is not healthy for your body.” That’s from the respiratory standpoint, ”said Dr. Sochet. “Here at All Children ‘s we also suspect that it is not healthy for the mind and the other organs in the body.”
Dr. Sochet said they were eligible to start a new study looking at the effects of vaping on a teenager’s entire body and quality of life. He said they take in 80 patients, including those who vape and those who don’t. They use questionnaires and take samples to gain more insight.
“We know that fumes are toxic to the lungs. We don’t have to prove it to anyone, even though we want to know more about it. But what about the whole body? How else does it affect children and even affect their quality of life ? ” he said.
Life has a new perspective for Barbieri.
“Like thinking of the result before I do it. I think before I play this time. I wake up blessed to be alive, ”said the teenager.
Now he no longer vaporizes and talks about his ordeal to help others.
“Be sure, be smart and just think about what you’re doing. Do you really want to do this or do you want to do this for this moment?” He said.