A roofer who claims vaping caused his lung to collapse has welcomed the government's plan to ban disposable vapes.
On Monday, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced that disposable vapes will be outlawed from the beginning of next year in an effort to protect children's health.
Powers will also be introduced to restrict flavours which are specifically marketed to children and ensure that manufacturers produce plainer packaging and change how vapes are displayed in shops, moving them out of children’s sight.
It is already illegal to sell vapes to anyone under 18, but the government wants to ban disposable vapes, which are often sold in smaller and more colourful packaging than refills, which critics say makes them more attractive to youths.
The proposed ban was welcomed by roofer Alex Gittins, 31, from Bishop Auckland in County Durham, who claimed he was left with a collapsed lung after using vapes.
He said he had been buying disposable vapes from a shop for four months when he had to have part of his lung removed and stapled back together when efforts to re-inflate it failed.
"The ban is a step in the right direction but I'd also be worried that it might lead to an increase in black market sales.
"If they stop selling in shops someone will just sell fake ones, but hopefully overall it will reduce the number of people vaping."
After using a disposable vape last May, he said he had a "horrible taste" in his throat and was struggling to breathe.
A doctor at Darlington Memorial Hospital told him his right lung had collapsed, and attempts were made to re-inflate it, but after two days it continued to leak fluid.
Do you agree with the ban on disposable vapes? Have your say (Yahoo News UK)
Gittins was taken for emergency surgery in Middlesbrough where doctors removed a piece of his lung before stapling it back together and then inflated it.
He says he now feels "fully recovered" and no longer vapes, only using a nicotine patch if he goes to the pub.
Gittins said he is taking legal action against Easi-Vape, the shop in Bishop Auckland that sold him the vapes, but it said there was "no evidence" its products were responsible and that they are "totally legal".
The ban on disposable vapes will use powers already in place under the Environmental Protection Act and is expected to come into force early next year.
New £100 fines will also be brought in for shops in England and Wales which sell vapes illegally to children.
Trading standards officers will be given powers to act “on the spot” to tackle underage tobacco and vape sales. This builds on a maximum £2,500 fine that local authorities can already impose.
Vaping alternatives – such as nicotine pouches – will also be banned for children.
Vaping myths and facts
According to the NHS, there are a number of myths and facts surrounding the use of vapes, or e-cigarettes.
It said that vaping is "not completely harmless" and is only recommended for adult smokers to help them stop using cigarettes.
The NHS said one myth is that vaping is just as bad for you as smoking, but while not risk-free, vaping is much less harmful.
Cigarettes release thousands of chemicals when they burn and many are poisonous, with up to 70 causing cancer, while vapes do not contain tar and carbon monoxide.
Another myth is that nicotine is "very harmful to health", the NHS says, pointing out that it is "relatively harmless' despite being addictive.
Nicotine does not cause cancer, lung disease, heart disease or stroke - instead it is the chemicals in tobacco smoke that are harmful.
The NHS also said that vaping is one of the most effective ways for people to stop smoking, and that they are "tightly regulated" for safety.