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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at PSU chapter.

Chest pain, anxiety and coughing. Oh my!

I’m sure my story is a lot like the others. Senior year of high school, I was offered a vape pen. After turning the offer down a few times, my friends continued to peer pressure me until I finally hit it.

I didn’t even like it that much, but I kept on accepting my friends’ offers and eventually bought my own to look cool. I slowly fell into the habit of hitting it while driving or when I was stressed.

A year into it, I was so dependent on nicotine. It was disgusting. I poured an insane amount of money into this bad habit.

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Sometime in January of my freshman year of college, I ended up in the hospital late at night. I had a nagging, pinching feeling in my chest. I was shaking and breathing rapidly. After a full cardiopulmonary workup, the doctors determined that I was all clear. My heart and lungs looked healthy.

They chalked my symptoms up to anxiety. I hadn’t told them I was vaping. I didn’t want to admit it and, more importantly, I didn’t want my mom to know.

I continued this awful habit for yet another year — more money down the drain. My health was spiraling and that pinching feeling came back quite often. Working out would leave me huffing and puffing. My chest always hurt. I was always tired.

Finally, over winter break during my sophomore year, I had quit completely. First day back to school for the spring semester, I asked my roommate to hit hers.

I fell into this cycle of quitting/relapsing for a couple more months until I finally called it quits this May.

I’m not proud of it. I wish I had never started, but I’m thankful that it is over now. I’m not writing this article to make you feel bad — I’m writing this article to share my story.

Now that I’ve quit, the nagging pinching feeling in my chest has gone away. I breathe a lot better at night and when I exercise. Overall, I’m happier, I feel healthier and I will never, ever hit a vape again.

There’s only one person to blame for this — myself. I shouldn’t have ever picked one up in the first place. I shouldn’t have bought one to look cool. I should’ve said no.

I feel like I sound cliché, like one of those commercials or “Just Say No” drug campaigns from high school. If you’ve got your vape attached to your hip, I encourage you to try and go a few days without it. You’ll be feeling better before you know it. Believe it or not, I actually get sick from the smell of vapes now.

Quitting cold turkey is hard, but there are a lot of resources to help you through it. I recommend This Is Quitting for strategies, encouraging text messages and information on vaping during your teen and college years.

I wish I never had the experience to write this article. Thankfully, it’s over for good now. Do yourself and your lungs a favor. We will only ever be this young and healthy once.

Macy is a Pittsburgh, PA native with a passion for reading, writing, tree-hugging and music. She is pursuing a major in Biobehavioral Health, while double minoring in English and Sustainability Leadership on the Humanities Track. Outside of Her Campus, Macy spends her time with her golden retrievers and her camera.