Man aged 20 left in coma after 'vaping too much' at work

James Johnson in hospital
-Credit: (Image: James Johnson/SWNS)


A nightclub bouncer has told how he was left in a coma and nearly died after 'continuously' puffing away on a disposable vape during night overnight shifts. James Johnson, 20, was rushed to intensive care and diagnosed with bilateral pneumonia, caused by chemicals from his vapes entering his lungs.

He says he would constantly use his £12 vape during long night shifts as 'something to do' and one vape of 2,400 puffs would only last two days. But now he only has one working lung and has been told that he'll die before 40 if he continues vaping.

James, who will take part in a charity boxing match once he's fully recovered, said: "My left lung has managed to have been saved, but my right lung hasn't come back functioning because it was a lot worse. It was too late to save it really. I am still lucky to be here."

James, of Blackpool, Lancashire, started vaping around 18 months ago as something to do during his long shifts. Even though he says he was warned by friends that they're unhealthy, he says he just "fobbed it off" and thought nothing would happen to him. However, he suddenly started throwing up blood one evening and the next thing he remembers is waking up from a coma after his heart stopped.

James, who is dad to seven-month-old Harper-Mai, said: "I would work 17-hour days and would constantly be awake, so I would vape a lot. It was very mentally straining in hospital, but (in) the first couple of weeks, I didn't know I was there. I couldn't walk for the first couple of weeks and it was even worse because I was awake and couldn't talk, walk or eat."

After he started throwing up blood, James was rushed to intensive care in May this year where he was put on oxygen and in a coma. He was then diagnosed with bilateral pneumonia and doctors discovered that when he vaped, chemicals were going into his lungs and filling them with pus.

James Johnson with partner Charlotte and daughter Harper-Mai
James Johnson with partner Charlotte and daughter Harper-Mai -Credit:James Johnson/SWNS

He added: "There are not many people who survive pneumonia, but luckily I was young and I was able to pull through. A lot of people can live with one lung, but it's about how I make different life choices.

"If I go back to vaping or smoking or I don't look after my body, then I won't make it past 40. To be honest, I'm glad I found out now because it could have happened in ten or 20 years and my body wouldn't have been fit enough to survive it."

When James woke up from the coma he didn't know who his partner Charlotte, 23, was and also didn't know he had a daughter. He said: "I didn't know I had a daughter and I didn't know who was my partner or who my parents were. It was very scary."

James, who also works on a building site, is now encouraging other people to educate themselves on what they are vaping, before they actually use it.

He said: "Read up about what you are smoking before you smoke it. Don't think that because of your age, that it won't happen to you. I am only 20 years old and I nearly lost my life."

James has decided to sign up for the charity boxing match to raise money for Cancer Research UK and will start intensive training in two weeks. He said: "I just thought 'why not give it a go?' I've never done anything like this before - I'll be starting intense boxing training in two weeks where I will learn everything in the space of eight weeks. I feel like if I do everything right and look after my body in the right way, then I should be okay."