Addicted man claims vapes are as bad as smoking after lungs collapsed aged 22
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A man who suffered a collapsed lung due to his vaping addiction has claimed that vapes are just as bad as smoking cigarettes.
Jonathan Belcher, 22, started vaping when he was 17 and developed an addiction so severe he was smoking the equivalent of ’20 cigarettes a day’.
His health took a turn for the worst last month when he woke up breathless and with excruciating pain in his left shoulder.
“I woke up dying [that morning]. I was terrified and I just knew something was really wrong but I didn’t know what,” Belcher, from Covington, Virginia, said.
“It felt like my shoulder was a balloon about to pop. I was really short of breath and any breath I took made the shoulder hurt worse but I didn't realise why.
"It was only two minutes to the hospital, but that was the longest and scariest two minutes of my life. I was truly looking death in the face.”
Belcher was rushed to the hospital and he broke down in tears when doctors told him his left lung had a hole in it and had collapsed.
Trapped air had begun to crush his lungs and heart as part of the condition called a pneumothorax. Surgeons inserted a tube to remove it however when his lung failed to heal naturally, doctors removed an upper quarter of his left lung to save his life and close u the hole.
"I will never forget when I called my mum, and the way she screamed and cried.
"It sounds horrible, but I would really use any vape I could get my hands on, it was just so addictive.
"I smoked the equivalent of about 20 cigarettes a day.
"On my medical records, it's labelled that I had a spontaneous tension in the thorax from vaping.”
Belcher, who works as an assistant nurse, said he struggles to sleep and his weakened lung means he’s winded after the simplest of tasks, such as making phone calls.
Although his lungs are now able to function on their own, Belcher claims they will be weaker for the rest of his life.
The former vaping 'addict' wants to raise awareness about the potential dangers of using the devices.
"I've absolutely quit vaping. The whole experience was terrifying, painful and so bad that I will never touch a device that produces smoke ever again.
"Don't look at it as if it happens, look at it as when."