This 20-Year-Old Collapsed Both Lungs from Vaping

By: Beth Moreton | Published: Apr 04, 2024

The use of vapes initially emerged to help people who were trying to quit smoking, as vapes were seen as a better alternative.

But with increasing research into vaping showing that they might not be any better than smoking cigarettes, and one 20-year-old’s lungs collapsing as a result, this could be the beginning of the end of vaping.

Vaping Is Just as Bad as Smoking

Vapes were initially introduced to help people curb their smoking addictions, but they have now been found to be just as addictive as cigarettes.

A man in a yellow hoodie leaning against a wooden wall using a vape.

Source: Mohamad Hajizade/Unsplash

The Daily Mail has also warned that as well as its addictive nature, vaping is also believed to have some serious effects on health that could all be avoided.

Vaping Can Cause Cancer

Cleveland Clinic has set out some of the dangers of vaping, ranging from addiction to cancer.

A man wearing a green coat with the hood up whilst using a vape. A cloud of smoke is covering the lower part of his face.

Source: Nery Zarate/Unsplash

Some of the other risks include asthma and organ damage. Some vaping devices have even been known to explode, which has caused serious injuries and burns to people. 

Karlee Ozkurt Got Addicted to Vaping at 15 Years Old

Karlee Ozkurt from Wisconsin first became addicted to vaping when she was just 15 years old, according to The Daily Mail

A young girl in a pink coat vaping.

Source: prostooleh/Freepik

Ozkurt said that she wanted to look “badass” and was trying to impress her peers, but that all backfired. 

Karlee Ozkurt’s Lung First Collapsed in 2021

Three years on from when she first started vaping, Ozkurt began complaining of her right lung feeling like it was on fire.

An x-ray of a check. There is a black arrow pointing to the collapsed lung.

Source: mynameisderek/Wikimedia Commons

After initially thinking she had just pulled a muscle, her symptoms worsened, and she ended up in the ER, where doctors told her that her right lung had collapsed. 

Karlee Ozkurt’s Second Lung Collapsed One Year Later

Just a year after her first lung collapsed, Ozkurt ended up in the ER for a second time, only this time, her left lung had collapsed.

A cartoon image of the upper human body. The lung on the left is normal, whereas the lung on the right is collapsed and significantly smaller than the normal lung.

Source: BruceBlaus/Wikimedia Commons

She initially tried to give up vaping after her first lung had collapsed, only to then start vaping on and off, until finally, she started vaping full-time again, leading to the second collapsed lung. 


Karlee Ozkurt Might Not Make It to Her 40th Birthday

As both of her lungs had collapsed by the time she was in her early 20s, doctors believe that Ozkurt might not even make it to her 40th birthday.

40th birthday balloons tied to a staircase. The balloons are purple, blue, red, orange, and yellow, and all have the number ‘40’ in white writing.

Source: Dan Stephens/Unsplash

This is due to her constant urge to vape, causing the collapsed lungs, and has left her with two holes in her lungs and lots of scarring.


Other Vapers Have Found Holes in Lungs

Ozkurt isn’t the only person to have a hole in her lungs as a result of vaping; a 25-year-old from Las Vegas has suffered the same fate.

A scan of some lungs shows both lungs have holes in their lower halves. The darker areas are where the lung is whole and the lighter areas are where the holes are.

Source: Laura Fregonese/Wikimedia Commons

The Daily Mail reported that Joseph Lawrence had been vaping for years when he suddenly started struggling to breathe. He went to the ER, and scans showed he had several holes in his lung.


Joseph Lawrence Urges Others to Stop Vaping

Taking to his X account, Lawrence urged anyone who might read his post that if they vape, they need to quit.

A post on X from Joseph Lawrence. The post says “PSA if you vape please consider quitting, had a hole in my lung the other day and had to be rushed to the ER because I could not breathe, thankfully I’m okay and it didn’t fully collapse. Please take care of yourselves and consider quitting, it’s not worth it.”

Source: @J0elawrence/X

In the post, Lawrence included an image of himself with various wires across his body and shared that he had holes in his lungs, telling his followers, “It’s not worth it.”


Over 2 Million U.S. Teenagers Vaping

Ozkurt isn’t the only person to have started vaping as a teen, as a study by Cross River Therapy has found that over 2 million U.S. teenagers are currently using vapes.

A young boy leading against a tree using a vape. He is facing a friend.

Source: RWJBarnabus Health/YouTube

This number includes 14.1% of high school students and 3.3% of middle school students, with 85% using flavored vapes


Flavored Vapes More Appealing to Teenagers

The Drug and Alcohol Dependence Journal has found that teenagers are more likely to try flavored vapes over unflavored. 

A packet of vape flavors. There are four flavors: cool mint (green), Virginia tobacco (black), creme brulee (yellow), and mango (orange).

Source: Commons

This study also found that if vapes lost their flavor, it would mean that the uptake of vaping would significantly decrease among teenagers in particular.


Parents Can Help Their Children Stop Vaping

If parents are concerned about their children or anyone they know vaping, the Surgeon General has outlined some guidance on how parents can talk to their children. 

A mother and daughter sitting down to have a conversation. They are sat on the floor in front of the couch and both have serious looks on their faces.

Source: Freepik

This includes being aware of the facts about vaping before talking to them, getting any needed support, and being prepared for some of the questions they might ask by knowing the answers beforehand.