Adam Hergenreder's vaping habit almost killed him.
Late last month, the 18-year-old student athlete in Gurnee, Illinois, was hospitalized after using e-cigarettes for more than a year and a half. Now his lungs are similar to those of a 70-year-old adult, doctors told him.
"It was scary to think about that -- that little device did that to my lungs," Adam said, remembering the news from his doctors about his lung health.
Adam is among the hundreds of e-cigarette users in the United States who have been sickened with mysterious vaping-related lung illnesses, many of them young people. Investigators haven't yet identified the cause of the illnesses.
Amid calls for more regulation, the Trump administration now plans to remove flavored e-cigarettes -- except tobacco flavor -- from the marketplace
Why is that important? We are seeing an absolute surge in high school and middle school kids using these flavored products," US Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said in a video statement on Wednesday. "Mint, menthol, fruit flavor, alcohol flavor, bubble gum."
The US Food and Drug Administration announced on Wednesday that more than a quarter of high school students this year have reported using e-cigarettes and the "overwhelming majority" reference using popular fruit and menthol or mint flavors, according to preliminary data from the National Youth Tobacco Survey.
Adam, who vaped nicotine and THC products, said he isn't sure his lungs will ever be back at 100% -- and he worries whether he will ever be able to wrestle again.
"I was a varsity wrestler before this and I might not ever be able to wrestle because that's a very physical sport and my lungs might not be able to hold that exertion. ... It's sad," Adam said.