A dad-to-be says a faulty vape caused his lung to collapse, and is terrified that others could be at risk.
Alex Gittins was smoking a vape in May 2023, when he noticed it wasn’t working as usual, and he experienced a ‘horrible taste’ in his throat.
Before long, the 31-year-old said he was struggling to breathe and went to A&E. There, he was given the shocking news that his lung had collapsed.
Alex, from County Durham, ended up needing a part of his lung removed before it could be reinflated – now, he’s concerned that others could end up in his position.
He said: ‘My major concern is that this could have happened to kids.
‘So many of them are running round smoking vapes, and yet the government is doing nothing to get them banned.
‘You know what a fag does to you; you don’t know what a vape does Something’s not right – kids could die.’
Alex, a roofer, claims he bought the vape from Easi-Vape in Bishop Auckland, where he’d been purchasing vapes from for the past four months.
He was paying £20 for six, and had smoked several without any issue, but on this occasion, he quickly realised something was wrong.
Alex, who is expecting a baby in September, said: ‘I started smoking it when it suddenly didn’t create the mist properly. There was a horrible taste in my throat.
‘Then five or ten minutes later I was stood there and breathing in, but it felt like I had a massive stitch.
‘It started getting worse over the next hour.’
Alex was driving back from work when his chest began to feel much worse.
He went to a walk-in centre, where he was instructed to go to nearest hospital, and at A&E, his breathing continued to deteriorate.
It was when a doctor examined him that he was given the shocking news: his right lung has collapsed and needed to be reinflated.
But, what is normally a routine procedure failed, and his lung was leaking fluid.
Doctors attempted to remove the fluid using suction, but after two days, fluid was still in his lung and it had yet to reinflate.
Finally, Alex was taken for an emergency operation, where surgeons removed a piece of his lung before stapling it back together, and finally reinflating it.
Alex, who has since been discharged, is continuing to have weekly check-ups but still struggles to fully catch his breath. He is also currently unable to work.
Alex is adamant that it was the vape, bought from Easi-Vape, which hospitalised him. He says he reported the shop to Trading Standards and is in contact with a lawyer.
Easi-Vape confirmed that it had been in contact with a lawyer representing Alex’s case.
A spokesperson said: ‘Durham council been out to see us. All of our products have an MHRA number on them and are totally legal.
‘Alex can do what he likes, there’s no evidence that our vapes caused what happened to him.
‘The customer in question has been smoking for the last 15 years, we don’t know what he wants but we’ve got all our evidence.’
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