WACO, Texas – Professor Tommy Lowrance used vaping to kick his cigarette habit in 2015 and felt he was in the best shape of his life. A few months later, doctors told him he didn’t have long to live.
“My lungs looked good,” says Lowrance. “It was just deep down inside something I had inhaled had injured my lungs, and the only thing that me and my doctors could figure out would be vaping that caused it.”
After being misdiagnosed with bronchitis and pneumonia, Lowrance discovered he only had use in 22 percent of his lungs. He now takes an oxygen tank and may even need a lung transplant if they get worse.
“We’re fully prepared for a shortened life expectancy. I don’t anticipate living into my late 70s even though that may be the average. I won’t make it that far, probably,” says Lowrance. “Even if I do, my quality of life will be forever altered for sure.”
He now travels to schools, teaching about the dangers of vaping to kids. He even lobbies to politicians, sharing his story with the governor of Colorado last month.
In his mind, something needs to change.
“As far as right now, you can still produce these liquids that are being sold and marketed in the vape pen, and there’s very little regulation,” says Lowrance. “We’re only now starting to move, and for many that’s too late.”
The Center for Disease Control says over half the people affected by e-cigarettes are under the age of 24.