'I almost died': Teenager warns against vaping

12 November 2019, 11:17

Ewan Fisher ended up on life support after suffering a 'catastrophic' respiratory illness
Ewan Fisher ended up on life support after suffering a 'catastrophic' respiratory illness. Picture: PA

A teenager who almost died when he ended up on life support after vaping has warned others to stay away from the devices.

Ewan Fisher from Nottingham who turns 19 today, turned to vaping as a way of giving up cigarettes when he was 16.

But it caused him to suffer serious hypersensitivity pneumonitis - a type of allergic reaction to something breathed in which results in inflammation of the lung tissue.

Describing his "catastrophic" respiratory failure that was linked to e-cigarettes, Mr Fisher said doctors had to work round the clock to save his life.

He said: "I was vaping for about four or five months before I got ill. I'd say I was vaping about a normal amount - maybe 10 to 15 times a day.

"Beforehand, I'd been a smoker on 13 to 14 cigarettes a day, then I switched to vaping but ultimately I wanted to get off both of them."

But Mr Fisher suffered a choking cough and struggled to breathe, causing him to be rushed to hospital where a canulas was inserted into him.

His condition deteriorated and he was forced to go into intensive care, where he needed two forms of life support.

Ewan was attached to an ECMO machine to keep him alive
Ewan was attached to an ECMO machine to keep him alive. Picture: PA

Ewan was treated with Ecmo (Extra Corporeal Membrane Oxygenation). It is a type of life support based on an exterior artificial lung that puts oxygen into the blood and pumps it around the body.

Mr Fisher said his ordeal means he would warn others to stay away from vaping.

"It was definitely vaping that made me ill," he said. "I had numerous tests which showed it was to blame.

"To people that already smoke, I'd say go to the doctor's for help, don't just switch to vaping.

"And to all the teenagers that vape and think it's something good, it's really not.

"I wouldn't wish this upon anyone, it ruins you and your family, and it affects your mental health.

Mr Fisher said whilst his health is back to 80%, he still suffers from anxiety about his experience.

He also had to miss his GCSES because of his illness, and his mum struggled financially when having to take time of work to look after him, as well as his younger sister.

A woman using a vaping device exhales a puff of smoke.
A woman using a vaping device exhales a puff of smoke. Picture: PA

Approximately 3.6 million people vape in the UK, although Mr Fisher's reaction is considered rare.

Scientists are becoming increasingly divided over whether vaping causes harm to health.

Public Health England claims that vaping is 95% less harmful than smoking. But The World Health Organization says e-cigarettes are "undoubtedly harmful and should therefore be subject to regulation".

The deaths of 39 people in the US have also been connected to vaping.

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