North Carolina woman warns vapers after teen stepson suddenly died
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A concerned and grieving stepmom in North Carolina has shared a warning for parents and children who vape after she suddenly lost her 15-year-old stepson.
Charlene Zorn decided to share the ordeal her family went through after her stepson, Solomon Wynn, was taken off a ventilator and died last month.
A few months ago, Wynn's health took a turn when he developed a 'bad cough'.
The family, from Wilmington, went to the doctor, and Wynn was diagnosed with what they 'thought was bronchitis'.
Doctors prescribed Wynn with antibiotics, steroids and inhalers, but when his condition failed to get better he was referred to a pulmonologist.
Allergy testing and X-rays determined Wynn had been vaping, and the teen quickly admitted that his friends had 'showed him how to do it'.
Speaking to Fox News Digital, Zorn said: "As parents, we had no clue. We had no indication that he had been vaping. Neither his father nor myself smoke, so there were no products in our house that he could get. It wasn't that it was something accessible to him. It was something he got through his friends."
After Wynn developed the cough, his strength gradually declined until he couldn't walk for even five minutes because his breathing was so labored.
"The CAT scan showed that there was fluid in three places on his lungs and surrounding his heart," Zorn said.
"He was supposed to see the cardiologist that following Monday because, obviously, they had concerns because it was affecting his heart. And then on that Friday, on June 16, he collapsed and then ended up in the hospital on a ventilator."
Wynn's friends and family were blindsided when, just one day later, he died. His death came just days after his 15th birthday.
At Wynn's funeral, his stepmom urged his friends and football teammates not to vape.
"All these things that we thought Solomon was going to do — we thought he would play football all the way through high school," she said.
"He talked on and off about the military. He talked about jobs that he wanted to have," Zorn said. "We even joked about him even having a family someday. None of those things are going to happen now. … We have memories. That's all we have now."
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has banned flavored vapes in an effort to prevent children from picking up the habit, but certain products are still making their way to the market and into the hands of kids.
Zorn said she doesn't know what type of vapes Wynn was smoking.
She's urged parents to 'talk to your kids', adding: "People think that we're exaggerating or, 'Oh, this can't happen to my kid.' … The death rate among kids vaping is very low, yes, but the rate of kids ending up in the hospital and the kids getting sick is on the increase, not the decrease."
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that the use of e-cigarettes are 'unsafe for kids, teens, and young adults'.
Most of the devices contain nicotine, which is highly addictive and can harm adolescent brain development. They can also contain other harmful substances besides nicotine.