Teen Who Nearly Died From Vaping Says ‘It’s Not Worth The Risk’

by : Lucy Connolly on : 12 Nov 2019 12:09
Teen Who Nearly Died From Vaping Says ‘It’s Not Worth The Risk’Family Handout/PA Images

A teenager who nearly died after suffering serious respiratory failure doctors linked to vaping has said it’s ‘not worth the risk’.

Ewan Fisher, who recently turned 19, turned to vaping in an attempt to give up cigarettes. But after just a few months of using e-cigarettes he was rushed to hospital as he was struggling to breathe.


The teenager ended up in intensive care, with doctors having to connect him to an artificial lung to keep him alive after his own lungs failed and he couldn’t breathe on his own.

Hospitalised teen warns others of vapingFamily Handout/PA Images

Ewan said he had only been vaping for ‘about four or five months’ before he became ill, and said he vaped ‘a normal amount – maybe 10 to 15 times a day’. He switched to vaping because he thought it would be healthier than smoking, and wanted to get his fitness up because he ‘was really into’ boxing at the time.

The teenager first started noticing something was wrong in May 2017 after he developed a ‘choking cough’ and quickly found he was struggling to breathe, at which point he was taken to hospital. Doctors diagnosed Ewan with hypersensitivity pneumonitis (HP), a disease of the lungs in which they become inflamed as a result of an allergic reaction to something you have inhaled.


The 19-year-old, from Nottingham, told the Press Association:

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.

Hospitalised teen warns others of vapingFamily Handout/PA Images

The shocking case, although it took place in May 2017, has just come to light in the journal Archives of Disease in Childhood. Dr Jayesh Mahendra Bhatt, a consultant who treated Fisher, co-authored the paper, which described Ewan as a ‘previously well young person presented with a catastrophic respiratory illness’.


The paper concluded:

There are two important lessons here. The first is always to consider a reaction to e-cigarettes in someone presenting with an atypical respiratory illness. The second is that we consider e-cigarettes as ‘much safer than tobacco’ at our peril.

Ewan told BBC News vaping had ‘basically ruined’ him, saying he has since tried to warn his mates but they haven’t listened and ‘think [he’s] being stupid’. He added: ‘Is it worth risking your life for smoking e-cigs? I don’t want you to end up like me and I don’t want you to be dead, I wouldn’t wish [that] on anyone.’

Hospitalised teen warns others of vapingFamily Handout/PA Images

The teenager had a long recovery and says he’s still only ’75-80%’ of what he used to be, although he has started feeling stronger in himself in the past six months.

Although instances like this are rare, with Public Health England saying vaping is 95% safer than smoking, Ewan’s case proves there are definite health risks to e-cigarettes.

Professor John Britton, the director of the UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies at the University of Nottingham, said: ‘The advice remains the same: if you smoke, switch to vaping; if you don’t smoke, don’t vape.’

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Lucy Connolly

A Broadcast Journalism Masters graduate who went on to achieve an NCTJ level 3 Diploma in Journalism, Lucy has done stints at ITV, BBC Inside Out and Key 103. While working as a journalist for UNILAD, Lucy has reported on breaking news stories while also writing features about mental health, cervical screening awareness, and Little Mix (who she is unapologetically obsessed with).

Topics: Health, e-cigarettes, smoking, vaping


Archives of Disease in Childhood and 2 others
  1. Archives of Disease in Childhood

    Life-threatening hypersensitivity pneumonitis secondary to e-cigarettes

  2. BBC

    Vaping nearly killed me, says British teenager

  3. Public Health England

    E-cigarettes around 95% less harmful than tobacco estimates landmark review