Danbury mother offers advice to parents following son's lung damage due to vaping

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A concerned mother in Danbury is offering a message for middle and high school parents after her son's scans had worrying results.

Eve Zumtobel's 16-year-old son wasn't showing any symptoms of a health problem when she took him for an X-ray. Now, she is urging other parents to have an open conversation with their kids, and if you know they vape, to bring them to a doctor.

No stranger to the difficulty of quitting cigarettes, Zumtobel knew her son was addicted to vaping, and had to intervene.

"I said we're going to go get a chest X-ray - we're going to the doctor," says Zumtobel. "And if they find something you're going to stop right? And he said 'yeah.'"

After seeing his pediatrician, she followed up with a pulmonologist. The diagnosis was asthma, but doctors added, "vaping associated lung injury."

Zumtobel's son doesn't have asthma, but she says because these lung problems associated with vaping are so new, the doctor told her they didn't even have a code for it in their system.

Dr. Amy Ahasic, a pulmonologist at Norwalk Hospital not associated with this case, says it's true that these recent lung injuries are new and growing. She says diagnoses are in general terms right now because vaping doesn't cause the same type of injury in every patient.

Zumtobel says she got her son a low-dose nicotine patch to help him quit vaping. She will take him back to the doctor in a month to see if the damage to his lungs recedes.

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