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Lung Problem Tall Tale

A tale of vaping attacking a young American woman’s lungs raises a number of questions

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A tale of vaping attacking a young American woman’s lungs is so full of holes it is amazing that it got published. It is more interesting that the articles only appeared in UK publications on their online portals and not in their printed news copy. Searches and reverse image operations fail to retrieve any information about this woman.

South West News Service (SWNS) “creates and distributes amazing news content which drives huge audiences across print, digital and social for the world's biggest publishers”. It adds, “our journalists source and verify amazing stories, videos and pictures”.

The tale of a 34-year-old American woman driven to hospital after suffering a lung problem was published online by the Daily Express, the Daily Record, the Daily Mirror, the Daily Mail, the Independent, and a swathe of regional newspaper websites – but not a single newspaper in the USA.

SWNS serves a number of blue-chip clients including at least one major tobacco company.

All of the published online articles are accompanied by images marked as SWNS being a joint copyright holder, it is therefore reasonable to assume that the news agency also provided the copy.

The other copyright holder is listed as Amanda Stelzer, the 34-year-old woman at the centre of the story.

Multiple times in the article Ms Stelzer is referred to as “he”. While we acknowledge the right of individuals to elect their own personal pronouns, this appears to be lax attention to detail by the writer.

Planet of the Vapes has attempted to verify this story. We conducted extensive research after a company got in touch with us. Ms Stelzer has no discernible online footprint.

The article begins by telling us Ms Stelzer is currently “fighting for her life”.

He quickly became hooked on the devices and found himself using around eight cartridges of vape liquid each week,” it continues, after informing us Ms Stelzer began vaping in 2015.

Suddenly, in October 2019, he went to the emergency room after suffering from respiratory problems.”

Two questions here:

  • Has Ms Stelzer been fighting for her life since 2019?
  • Also, what happened in 2019? Oh yes, Covid-19.

The article tells us she was admitted suffering from acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). Covid is also known as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome-Coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2).

Repeated studies have warned that vaping can cause severe lung and heart damage, similar to smoking standard cigarettes,” continues the article.

No. No they haven’t.

Despite her severe illness, doctors were unable to determine what was wrong with Ms. Stelzer. It wasn’t until his mother asked a nurse if this might have something to do with his vaping that prompted doctors to scan his chest. Medical staff later confirmed that his diagnosis was directly due to his vaping.”

Really? Colour us sceptical.

And then, seemingly from nowhere, “Amanda now suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) due to this experience. However, her health is ‘wonderful’ at the moment, and she is in the best position she has ever been in, with many supportive friends and family.”

And, “He’s vowed never to touch a vaporizer again, and hopes his experience is the wake-up call someone else needs.”

Worst article of 2023 before we’ve even reached Easter? It looks to have the title nailed on.

Photo Credit:

Dave Cross avatar

Dave Cross

Journalist at POTV
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Dave is a freelance writer; with articles on music, motorbikes, football, pop-science, vaping and tobacco harm reduction in Sounds, Melody Maker, UBG, AWoL, Bike, When Saturday Comes, Vape News Magazine, and syndicated across the Johnston Press group. He was published in an anthology of “Greatest Football Writing”, but still believes this was a mistake. Dave contributes sketches to comedy shows and used to co-host a radio sketch show. He’s worked with numerous vape companies to develop content for their websites.

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