ELLWOOD CITY (KDKA) — Emma Bowland, 16-years-old, is taking it a day at a time.
“I’ve been really sore, still hard to breathe, I take two naps a day,” said Bowland.
The Riverside High School junior spoke at her Ellwood City home about the journey she’s been through since she decided to use e-cigarettes.
“It all started as something to try and all my friends were doing it and we all just experimented and it just turned into something you got addicted to and all the different flavors and just wanted to keep trying them,” said Bowland.
Addicted because of the nicotine. But doctors said teens don’t always realize what’s actually in an e-cigarette.
“What they’re seeing on media and on ads is this is just harmless water vapor and I don’t think they realize this is an aerosol. It contains chemicals in it,” said Children’s Hospital Pediatric Pulmonologist Franziska Rosser.
Emma said she started with Juul, then tried other brands.
“Being underage, friends of friends trade-off and sell,” said Bowland.
Amy Wadas: “Do you think any were laced with THC?”
Bowland: “You never know. On the street nothing is safe.”
Emma vaped for about a year until she realized something was wrong.
“I started feeling stomach pain which ended up being my lungs,” said Bowland.
She spent time in a few hospitals before ending up in Children’s Hospital for 10 days. Scans showed white spots on her lungs.
“It’s like popcorn. A lot of patchiness and my lungs were bleeding and had fluid in my lungs,” said Bowland
After countless medications, Emma took a turn for the better and went home Tuesday night. Her mom said she knew Emma was vaping, but wished she’d been more vigilant.
“If you see it, pull it. If you know it, take it from them,” said Emma’s mom Brenda Daufen. “They want to be adults but still kids need guidance.”
“I would go through this again just so no one has to so I can raise awareness about it,” said Bowland.
Bowland has been one of 22 patients within UPMC this year who had lung-related problems due to vaping.
For help, teens can head to MyLifeMyQuit.
The site is free and confidential.