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Double-lung transplant recipient warns about dangers of vaping

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LAKE COUNTY — In 2019, a 16-year-old boy from Michigan was the first person in the world to receive a double lung transplant due to a vaping related illness. Since then, Daniel Ament has made it his mission to educate others about the dangers of vaping by sharing his story with them. Ament shared his story with students at seven area schools last week and with community members at Salish Kootenai College. His visit and presentations were coordinated by the Lake County Tobacco Prevention Program.

On April 9, Ament spoke to students at Charlo High School. He shared that he was a very active in his teen years - he could run a 19-minute 5k, participated in competitive sailing, swimming, and running. He loved spending time with his friends and family and being near their water. His ultimate goal was to become a navy SEAL. Ament was a freshman in high school when vaping became popular. Though he initially rejected offers to try it, he eventually gave in and tried vaping. Ament said he vaped for 9 months, opened a vape for 2 weeks out of those months and eventually throwing it in a lake, and never bringing one into his home, and only vaping with friends. In Sept. of 2019 Daniel got very ill and was put into a medically induced coma. After 29 days on life support, the outlook was bleak. To save him, doctors performed the first ever double lung transplant due to vaping on Oct. 15, 2019. After the transplant Ament woke up paralyzed. Within a few months he was able to stand and go upstairs, with help. He spent around 75 days in the hospital, dropped to 98 pounds from 155 and lost 30% of his muscle mass. “It always starts with an ‘I’ll just try it,’ and moves to ‘I only do it with friends,’ and ‘I can quit anytime,’ or ‘I’m in control.’ But you’re not,” Ament stated. 

These days, one of Ament’s favorite activities is surfing, and being able to be active again in general but with the restrictions he now has. Mark Brookman, Lake County tobacco prevention program coordinator said, “we wanted to bring him in to try and get the kids to listen to someone closer to their own age, and that it can have life changing effects no matter how long or little you do it for.” 

Charlo High School senior Titan Inman said, “It was really interesting to hear … And it’s amazing that he survived something like that. To go around spreading awareness to it is awesome, definitely super scary though - and you could tell he was nervous.” 

Via the website for his nonprofit organization,, Ament shares that his mission is: to educate people about the dangers of vaping and other substance abuse, to improve overall mental wellness through providing ways to cope with the pressures of being a teenager, and to inspire our youth to live a healthier, happier lifestyle. His vision is: A world with healthy and confident children and young adults living free and productive lifestyles.

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