Jayesh Mahendra Bhatt, A doctor at Nottingham University Hospitals (NHS)’ has issued a warning over vaping after a teenager in the UK almost died from serious respiratory failure linked to e-cigarettes.
National Sportslink learned that Ewan Fisher was put on life support after suffering from an allergic inflammatory reaction which could have cost his life.
The 16-year-old teenager was rushed to the Accident & Emergency department of Nottingham University Hospitals (NHS) Trust after becoming seriously unwell.
He was treated for hypersensitivity pneumonitis, a type of allergic reaction which results in inflammation of the lung tissue.
The young man became so ill that he was put on a type of life support in which an exterior artificial lung puts oxygen into the blood and pumps it around the body.
Writing in the journal Archives Of Disease In Childhood, doctors said the “previously well young person presented with a catastrophic respiratory illness” which put his life in danger.
They said the trigger was likely to have been an immune response to a chemical in e-cigarette fluid, calling for far more caution over the use of e-cigarettes.
Mr Fisher, who turns 19 today, urged others to stay away from vaping, warning that his illness – which took 14 months to recover from – had almost killed him. Scientists are becoming increasingly divided over whether vaping is safe.
Ewan, a previous smoker, was admitted to hospital following a week of fever, a persistent cough and increasing difficulty with breathing. His condition deteriorated rapidly and he developed respiratory failure and was put on life support plus intravenous antibiotics and steroids.
Ten days later, his condition became critical and he developed severe muscle weakness, requiring a long period of rehabilitation. The teenager told medics “he had recently started to use e-cigarettes fairly frequently, using two different liquids, purchased over the counter”.
The listed ingredients for both vaping liquids were the same apart from the unnamed flavourings. After two months, he was still suffering and underwent skin tests with vaping fluid, which made his symptoms worse.
Blood samples also showed that he had more antibodies to one of the two liquids, raising the possibility this might have been the source of his reaction. After 14 months, Ewan eventually recovered.
The doctors said: “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.”
Nick Hopkinson, British Lung Foundation medical director said the findings showed it was “possible the patient’s illness could have been due to an allergic response to a component of e-cigarette vapour”.
However, he said it can often be difficult to make an accurate diagnosis for this condition.
“In Britain, 3.6 million people vape and youth use remains low,” he added. “If this was a common problem or a significant risk we would expect many more cases.”
Rosanna O’Connor at Public Health England said: “We continue to keep the evidence under review, including all safety and health concerns reported to the e-cigarette regulator, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency.
“However, smoking kills half of life-long smokers and accounts for almost 220 deaths in England every day. Our advice remains that, while not completely risk free, UK regulated e-cigarettes carry a fraction of the risk of smoked tobacco.”