• A TikTok user said their lungs were infected with chlamydia after using a vape for a year.
  • They were diagnosed with chlamydia pneumoniae.
  • The video reignited talk of life-threatening vaping illnesses being investigated by the CDC and FDA.
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A TikTok user’s lungs were infected with chlamydia after they used a nicotine vape for a year, according to a video that has more than two million views.

In the video, which creator whycantany1leavemealone has since deleted, they said they developed a 13-day fever and pneumonia in October after using a salt nicotine vape for a year, Buzzfeed’s Krista Torres reported. The strange symptoms prompted them to see a doctor.

After tests for hepatitis and COVID-19 came back negative, doctors diagnosed them with chlamydia pneumoniae, a strain of the bacteria that causes a respiratory infection that targets the lungs.

Whycantany1leavemealone’s video reignited conversations about vaping-related illnesses that can cause permanent lung damage. In August 2019, the CDC reported a sharp increase in vape and e-cigarette-related emergency room visits, and began to investigate potential causes.

Vapes can turn your lungs into a bacteria breeding ground

Health experts have been unable to pinpoint a single cause for the uptick in cases, since the vape device industry is expansive and unregulated.

They believe chemicals like formaldehyde and acrolein could be to blame, as well as vitamin E acetate, a component of vegetable oil that is used to turn nicotine or THC into the aerosol users then inhale. Indeed, an FDA investigation found vitamin E acetate in the lungs of patients diagnosed with e-cigarette or vaping product use-associated lung injury, or EVALI. The substance wasn’t found in the lungs of people who are EVALI-free, according to the CDC website.

It’s possible that some of these ingredients don’t completely vaporize so when users inhale them, fluid enters the lungs and builds up, causing rare forms of pneumonia reported in many of the recent vape-related hospitalizations.

A December 2017 study in the journal Respiratory Research found people who vaped regularly were more than 1.3 times as likely to develop chronic lung disease than non-vapers due to bacterial infections. Tobacco smokers had a 2.6 times greater likelihood of developing the disease.

Pulmonologist Dr. Luis Chug told Buzzfeed there’s between a 1% and 20% chance a person could be infected with chlamydia pneumoniae, but there’s no data on vape-related transmission.

Since chlamydia pneumoniae is spread through respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes, it’s possible that’s how whycantany1leavemealone developed their illness.

“I would say if you’re going to vape, only purchase your pens and cartridges from a reputable source — and don’t share your pen with anyone else, especially now during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Chug told Buzzfeed.

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