Family says vaping sent teen to ICU, calls for FDA investigation

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CHICAGO — A southwest suburban teen was on her way to start college when a vaping-related injury sent her to the ICU instead, her family said Thursday.

Outraged parents Ruby and Tim Johnson went public with their harrowing story, saying vaping nearly claimed their daughter’s life. Piper Johnson ended up in a Colorado intensive care unit as she was on her way to college last month, they said.

She later admitted to vaping both tobacco and powerful THC, according to her parents, saying she was going through two to three of the nicotine pods a week.

The New Lennox family is now demanding aggressive action from the federal Food and Drug Administration to protect the public, saying there’s not enough regulation of vaping.

“We may have dodged a bullet with our daughter, but there’s already been two victims,” Tim Johnson said during a press conference Thursday in the law offices of Wise Morrisey.

The family and lawyers said there’s no plans for a lawsuit, but they just want to warn others that some e-cigarettes are disguised as a thumb drive.

Illinois’ Department of Public Health is still investigating a vaping-related death, and more than 27 incidents of lung disease statewide that could be linked to e-cigarettes and vaping.

This comes as doctors in Oregon uncover important clues, following what could well be the second confirmed death connected to vaping. Investigators say the Oregon victim legally purchased his vaping products.

Until Thursday, a leading theory pointed to counterfeit or bootlegged street products containing harmful chemicals on the Black Market as the source of the issue.

In a similar case, family members said a northwest suburban man was hospitalized with a virulent double pneumonia, which they believe was connected to vaping.


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