I was left with the lungs of an 80-year-old smoker at 16 after vaping for 6 months

I was left with the lungs of an 80-year-old smoker at 16 after vaping for 6 months

March 9, 2022

A TEENAGER who switched from cigarettes to vaping was left with the lungs of an 80-year-old after the organs failed.

Ewan Fisher smoked cigarettes but made the switch in order to improve his boxing skills.

But at the age of 16, his lungs failed the night before he was due to start his GCSE exams.

He spent weeks in intensive care and then needed an artificial lung in order to survive.

Ewan spent 10 weeks in hospital as doctors fought to save his life.

Now 20, he says he still struggles with his breathing.

He had dreams of becoming a professional boxer, but now Ewan gets out of breath just walking up the stairs.

Speaking to ITV he said: "I've lost my boxing career and I've lost a lot of the things that I used to do in life.

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"They said that my lungs looked like an 80-year-old who had been smoking all their life, so they must have been pretty terrible."

Ewan, who lives in Nottingham, now has severe issues with his lungs and said he also suffers from mental health issues.

He said doctors had originally told him that he’d make a full recovery.

In 2020 he said: "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.”

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  1. Think about why you should or want to quit smoking:Rather than just quitting on a whim and not really having any particular reason, you should try to think about your exact reasons for quitting, whether it be health, family or work. Writing these down, as well as the benefits that will come out of quitting will allow you to understand the importance of quitting and should help you quit for good. 
  2. Decide to quit smoking and keep to this decision: Telling friends, family and colleagues of your plan to quit should help the process, as they will know not to offer you any cigarettes or can offer support. Once you know you will quit it’s time to get the wheels in motion on dates and quitting strategies. 
  3. Decide on a date and prepare yourself to stop: Give yourself a date that you will quit, ensure all cigarettes, e-cigarettes and other such items are removed from your home, car and office by this date so you are not tempted. 
  4. Quit smoking: On the day of quitting, you should have prepared yourself and gotten rid of anything relating to smoking. You may want to have items with you that will help the process such as nicotine patches, gums or sprays. 
  5. Stay away from cigarettes and smoking – never start again: This is the hard bit, sticking to it. However the longer you go without smoking the more likely you are to quit for good. The first two weeks is the hardest part, try to avoid things that may mean you are likely to pick it up again such as drinking, socialising in a pub, or joining the smokers outside at work. 

In December 2019 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 warned people of the dangers of vaping and travels around the country talking to children about the problems you could face if you vape.

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.

Experts previously 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.”

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