California woman collapsed on Christmas with 'vape lung' says 'I looked dead'

A 37-year-old woman in California believed vaping would help her get healthier because it would make it easier for her to quit smoking. 

She kept it up for more than five years - and then she collapsed, on Christmas Day. 

Julia Itzen was rushed to the hospital in an ambulance, and would remain there for two weeks, struggling to take a full breath or get through a sentence without stopping to rest. 

Her doctors told Julia she had what they referred to 'vape lung,' their term for shallow breath an lung inflammation in chronic e-cigarette users, NBC4 reported.

Now she's warning not just teenagers, but adults like herself, that even if you only vape nicotine, you could wind up with permanent lung damage. 

Julia Itzen had to spend two weeks in the hospital for 'vape lung' and kept a video diary of her painful recovery

At just 37, Julia thought she was getting healthier by vaping instead of smoking

Julia Itzen had to spend two weeks in the hospital for 'vape lung' and kept a video diary of her painful recovery (left). At just 37, Julia thought she was getting healthier by vaping instead of smoking (right)

Julia is out of the hospital now, but will be using steroids to combat her lung inflammation for some time

Julia is out of the hospital now, but will be using steroids to combat her lung inflammation for some time 

At first, vaping helping Julia get everything she hoped to from not smoking. 

'My sense of smell came back like, scar - like a bloodhound,' Julia told NBC4. 

'My sense of taste came back. 

She used e-cigarettes just the way their makers claim their meant to be used: to help adults over 21 to ditch cigarettes to reduce their risks of lung cancer and disease, emphysema and heart problems, as well as regaining some of those more mundane faculties that had been dulled for Julia. 

But even after she stopped buying cigarettes, Julia kept vaping, for five-and-a-half years. 

Like about eight percent of American adults, e-cigarettes became part of her regular week, and she felt

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