Builder almost dies after 'chemical tasting' vape leaves a burnt hole on his lung
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A builder almost died after a 'chemical tasting' vape burnt a hole in his lung.
Alex Gittins, from County Durham, began feeling unwell after he picked up a vape from a corner shop in May.
Immediately after inhaling, the 31-year-old, who describes himself as 'fit and healthy' noticed a 'chemical' taste at the back of his throat.
And within a few minutes, he was struggling to breathe and raced to A&E where an x-ray showed that his lung had collapsed.
"I wasn't doing anything strenuous at work, I was literally stood there with my foot on a ladder and had only been there for five minutes. I had done absolutely nothing.
"Next thing you know I'm laying in A&E thinking I was going to die."
Looking back, Alex said he thinks the vape was most likely 'counterfeit' as he had his suspicions when he bought it.
"The vape didn’t look normal - it didn’t look right," he said. "It wouldn't stand up and had a curved bottom. Normally you can stand them up.
"I've been to other shops, but this one did good deals on them so I started going there.
"They sell six for £20, but that only works out at £3.33. They don't sound very legitimate for that price.
"When I phoned [the shop owner] he said it's not his problem and not to contact him again."
Fortunately, Alex lived to tell the tale, and he now wants to raise awareness about the dangers of dodgy vapes.
"I was a fit and healthy person before," Alex said. "I worked as a roofer and went to work every day, Monday to Friday, sometimes from 6am to 6pm. But I'm always on the go, at 100mph, and had no lung conditions.
"This is what scares me, because I'm in good health. Picture someone who's not - it's going to do even more damage to them.
"Or someone who already had lung problems. I could understand if I had another health condition, but I don't.
"I'm laying in the respiratory ward surrounded by people who are all over double my age.
"Even the staff said they've had a very high number of people around my age with collapsed lungs saying the same thing, that they'd just been smoking vapes.
"I've been sat in hospital thinking about it and decided I might as well say something."
Adding: "People have accused me of lying but I beg to differ - I'm laying in hospital with a tube in my ribs, and I've been in for two weeks.
"But I'm not fussed about them because as long as it stops one person then I've done my bit.
"My story might discourage a kid from vaping and they might think twice."