(CNN) -Tryston Zohfield is weak and still recovering after spending his summer break in a hospital with a collapsed lung.
Doctors say vaping is to blame.
The 17-year-old ended up in the intensive care unit on a ventilator when he woke up sick one morning.
“Just throwing up everywhere. I could feel my heart just pounding out of my chest, you know going 100 miles per hour,” Tryston said. “I was doing these half breaths. I really couldn’t get the full breath in, even with the inhaler.”
Machines kept him alive and tests confirmed he hadn’t picked up a bug, but had been vaping.
“Obviously I was embarrassed at first, but really once I realized I was going to make it through and I was given that second chance, I just wanted to give that warning out to people,” he said.
Doctors say parents and their kids don’t always understand the hidden dangers of vaping.
“Most people think that there’s simple water vapor and flavorings that taste good, but there so much more,” said Dr. Devika Rao, a pediatric pulmonologist at Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth.
The misconceptions are fueled by a combination of clever marketing and the idea that something safer than tobacco is safe in general, according to Rao.
She said there are heavy metals in vapes, like nickel, tin and lead, that can do direct damage to lungs.
“The nicotine contained in these products is very potent and the potential for nicotine addiction is so much more in young people compared to adults,” Rao said.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is investigating more than 150 cases of severe lung illness due to e-cigarette use in 16 states.