A TEENAGER who nearly died after vaping for six months has been left with the lungs of a life-long smoker.
Ewan Fisher’s lungs failed the night before he was due to start his GCSE exams.
He spent weeks in intensive care and the 16-year-old then needed an artificial lung in order to survive.
Ewan spent 10 weeks in hospital as doctors fought to save his life.
Now 19, he’s now back at home but has been left with the lungs of an 80-year-old and doctors say it’s down to vaping.
Ewan, an aspiring boxer, took up vaping to help him stop smoking and to boost his fitness.
He had dreams of becoming a professional boxer, but now Ewan gets out of breath just walking up the stairs.
His 65-year-old grandfather, who has smoked for 40 years, is fitter than him.
Not only does Ewan now have severe issues with his lungs, but he has also put on five stone since going into hospital.
Ewan, who lives in Nottingham, said he also suffers from mental health issues.
He said doctors had originally told him that he’d make a full recovery.
Four years on and he’s still struggling.
“They said my lungs would make a full recovery within two years but it’s been a lot longer and I wouldn’t even say they’re at 60 per cent.
“I used to be really healthy. I used to run every night and I can’t do anything any more. When it’s hot it messes with my lungs. I’m on steroids to help them cope.
“I can’t run, I really struggle up hills. It’s ruined all my joints. My life’s changed massively.
“My granddad is fitter than me and he’s 65. When I was in hospital they said I had the lungs of an 80-year-old life-long smoker and I’d only vaped for five or six months.”
Last December Ewan’s family released pictures of him in intensive care.
Ewan said it had been easy to buy cigarettes and e-cigarettes in 2017 – despite the fact he was underage.
In May that year, Ewan was finding it harder and harder to breathe.
His lungs began to fail and he ended up in Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham.
Soon after he was taken to Leicester and attached to an artificial lung or ECMO (extra-corporeal membrane oxygenation) machine.
Ewan developed a condition called hypersensitivity pneumonitis – something he was breathing in was setting off his immune system, with catastrophic consequences.
After returning home, Ewan is warning people of the dangers of vaping and travels around the country talking to children about the problems you could face if you vape.
Ewan has just finished a Level 3 BTEC in business and finance and is hoping to train as an accountant.
Dispite the dangers, Ewan said others still see vaping as a safe alternative.
He added that the flavours entice kids because they are “really addictive”.
“When I went into the hospital they took my vape and I was vaping blue flush (blackberry flavour) and I had a rhubarb and custard one too.
“It’s that sort of stuff that got me addicted. Those sweet flavours are addictive and they entice young people.
“If you can get sweet flavorus like coca-cola it attracts young people. Every flavour is out there – even cookies and cream.”
The debate over the safety of vaping is rife in America – and some states have already banned the products.
These products also contain higher nicotine levels. EU rules prohibit this.
Just last month it was also revealed that vaping doubles the risk of youngsters smoking real cigarettes and is linked to heart problems.
Ewan added: “I wasn’t even vaping the high nicotine stuff – I was 6mg of nicotine. I tried the higher ones and it was making me choke. I was about 16 and I’d just started vaping and I took a hit of my mates ones and I was choking for ages.
“If those high-strength vapes came over here it would cause mayhem.”
This view is backed by vape expert Jim Kang, who runs American firm vaporsolo.com.
He said: “The US’ high-strength vapes have been blamed on our public health crisis among high school kids
“It’s obvious that firms are targeting kids with these sweet flavours and the UK government should do everything in its power to stop it having the same issues that we’ve sadly had to deal with in the States.”