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Arkansas teen warns others after his vaping addiction caused illness

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LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas — “It was a wake-up call. It could have been a lot worse. If this didn’t happen it could have led to those lung illnesses people are getting,” said Max Griffin. 

He’s a Little Rock teen who started vaping because his friends were doing it.

“Just to be cool, just to fit in more,” said Griffin.

For two years, Max vaped nicotine every day, not realizing the effects it would have on his body.

“Like running and stuff. It was a little hard,” said Griffin. “Say I hadn’t run in a little while and I ran out and ran. It was hard, but again, everybody else had the same problem.”

But this September, that changed.

“It wasn’t a problem until I threw up blood,” said Griffin.

Erin Griffin, Max’s mom, said it all happened fast, complaining of heartburn at first.

“He was complaining, ‘I have heartburn, I feel like there’s something stuck in my throat,’ and I just kind of [said,] ‘dude you’re fine,'” Erin said.

“And then, he threw up blood.”

Max was diagnosed with esophagitis. The doctors confirmed it was related to smoking e-cigarettes. 

“When we had the scope done and he said the stomach is clear, he said there are little tears in the esophagus and it’s related to vaping,” Erin Griffin said of her son’s diagnosis.

“So, basically, what he said had happened was nicotine relaxes your body,” Max explained. “That little flap in your esophagus that keeps acid down, that acid was coming up.” 

The acid ended up eating away at his esophagus.

“Plus, the amount of nicotine that I was inhaling and the chemicals in that would irritate it.”

Max is expected to make a full recovery from the esophagitis in two months. 

He said he quit vaping and just wants to share his story to raise awareness.

“If you’re a kid who’s doing it, there’s no reason to. If you’re not addicted to cigarettes and you’re not trying to quit smoking cigarettes, then don’t do it,” said Max.

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