A British teenager who almost died when he fell ill after vaping has warned others to stay away from the devices.
Ewan Fisher, who celebrates his 19th birthday on Tuesday, turned to vaping as a way of giving up cigarettes but went on to suffer serious respiratory failure.
He was treated for hypersensitivity pneumonitis (HP) – a type of allergic reaction to something breathed in which results in inflammation of the lung tissue – and medics say his problems were caused by e-cigarettes.
Mr Fisher, from Arnold in Nottingham, told the PA news agency that he almost died as doctors worked 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.
“I switched to vaping because I thought it would be healthier and I was really into my boxing at the time so wanted to feel fit.
“In the run-up to going to hospital, I had a choking cough and I was struggling to breathe.
“My mum was really worried and took me to Queen’s Medical Centre.
“I was really struggling to breathe and they rushed me into a side ward and put canulas into me and it went downhill from there.
“I ended up in intensive care and needed two forms of life support. I almost died.
“I needed Ecmo (Extra Corporeal Membrane Oxygenation), but I was sedated for that so I don’t remember much about it.”
Ewan was treated with Ecmo at Queen’s and then transferred to Glenfield Hospital in Leicester, where medics have expertise in Ecmo.
Ecmo 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 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.
“I would say my health is back to 80% but I still suffer from anxiety about it all.
“I missed my GCSEs, my mum had to take all the time off work, she struggled financially and she also had my younger sister to look after.”
Mr Fisher, who lives with his mother, Melanie Kelham, a carer, and his younger sister, currently works in a shop and is studying level 3 business at college.
He hopes to get a job in accountancy in the future.