Bloomsburg University Student Hospitalized: Vaping to Blame?

BLOOMSBURG, Pa. -- A Bloomsburg University student is on life support in the hospital, and the sophomore's parents say his critical condition was brought on by e-cigarettes.

The parents of 19-year-old Kevin Boclair say their son had an asthma attack three weeks ago. They say his condition was only made worse by vaping.

Boclair is on life support at a hospital near Philadelphia, hooked up to a heart and lung bypass machine. He initially suffered an asthma attack, and according to his parents, doctors say a vaping habit now has him fighting for his life.

"People who already have asthma or COPD tend to do worse. The inflammation that's already going on tends to get worse and leads to complications," said Dr. Jaya Sugunaraj, Geisinger Medical Center pulmonologist.

Dr. Sugunaraj works at Geisinger Medical Center near Danville, specializing in lung care.

"What worries me the most is people who are young are getting hooked to it," Dr. Sugunaraj added.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that e-cigarettes are most commonly used by high school and college-aged people. Meanwhile, on Bloomsburg University's campus, students say they see others vaping often.

"People are constantly hitting it. I would say I see it every day, multiple times a day," said Bloomsburg University sophomore Lia Burke.

"Everyone knows that people are doing it, and it's kind of like 'what the cool kids do' sort of thing," said Casey McCormick, a Bloomsburg University sophomore.

Jake Rickert is a salesman at Infinity Vapes along Main Street in Bloomsburg. He says the shop is busy with students.

"Daily. Every day. I mean, locals, students, just about everyone comes in every day," Rickert said.

Dr. Sugunaraj says the health risks of vaping are acute injuries to the lung which can lead to more serious and sometimes deadly lung diseases, allergic reactions to vaping flavors, and in some cases, the cartridges have exploded causing burns and in one case, resulting in death.

"If you're a parent, know the facts about e-cigarettes and talk to your children if they are in middle school or high school. Definitely have a conversation with them," Dr. Sugunaraj said.

It's a conversation Kevin Boclair's parents wish they had with their son.

"I even know, as a nurse, he could die, so we are hoping it gets better, and I just want his friends to know and all these kids out there, I could tell the parents, 'Tell your kids don't do this,'" said Deborah Boclair, Kevin's mother.

Bloomsburg University sent Newswatch 16 a statement about Kevin Boclair, saying in part that the school community is hoping Kevin has a speedy recovery.

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