A father who gave up smoking so he could live a healthier life ended up having a heart attack and cardiac arrest – which he has put down to vaping.
Stephen Davies, 49, ditched cigarettes in 2014 after 20 years of smoking because he wanted to feel healthier and get better at the fitness activities he enjoys.
For five years the father-of-four has vaped – but he has also gone to the gym three times a week as well as playing in a football team and doing weekly 5km runs.
But the production supervisor suffered a heart attack and cardiac arrest in April and claims doctors told him e-cigarettes were a likely cause.
Now on the road to recovery, Mr Davies still has a long way to go to get his fitness levels back to where they were before, and he has vowed never to pick up a vape pen again.
Stephen Davies had smoked cigarettes for 20 years before he decided to give up five years ago so he could live a healthier life. Earlier this year he had a cardiac arrest and a heart attack
Mr Davies pictured with his son, Charlie, before his heart attack. The father-of-four said: 'I took up vaping because I thought it was the healthier option and would help me wean myself away from the fags'
Mr Davies from Yeovil, Somerset, said: 'I made the decision to quit the fags five years ago because I just wanted to feel healthier and not run out of breath when I worked out.
'I took up vaping because I thought it was the healthier option and would help me wean myself away from the fags.
'The doctor told me they don't know enough about vaping to know what lasting effect it has on the human body, and advised me to give up vaping as it could be the cause of my heart attack and cardiac arrest.
'I've never had problems with my heart in my life, and my wife and I honestly believe my heart attack and my cardiac arrest were caused by my vaping.
'I'll never vape again and I can't believe I nearly died when I was just trying to become a healthier version of myself.'
Mr Davies started smoking in his early 20s and continued to enjoy cigarettes for the next two decades.
Since taking up the dangerous habit, Mr Davies has had four children and got married to his wife Karolina Davies, 40, and then re-evaluated his health.
The hard-working father was already participating in various fitness activities - going to the gym three times a week, playing in a football team and doing 5k runs once a week - but wanted to ditch the fags to improve his health further.
Mr Davies quit smoking in 2014 and switched to vaping in the belief that it was a healthier alternative.
He used the £25 vape pen containing a 16mg nicotine liquid until April 5, this year, when he started struggling to breathe.
Mr Davies said: 'I'd started feeling a bit breathless with some jaw pain during the day at work, but I just ignored it.
Mr Davies said he enjoyed running (left) and wanted to be better at it so he stopped smoking cigarettes, but the production supervisor's heart stopped earlier this year and he said he'd never had heart problems until taking up vaping
Mr Davies said his heart attack began as pain in his jaw and then felt like indigestion – but he woke up in the middle of the night unable to breathe
'When I got home that night, it felt like I had bad indigestion, so I took some Rennies and went to bed early to try and sleep it off.
'I woke up in the middle of the night, unable to breathe and in a huge amount of pain - I was having a heart attack.
'My wife Karolina phoned 999, and whilst I was in the ambulance, I had a cardiac arrest.
'The paramedics had to restart my heart, and it was like waking up from a horrible dream.
The flavourings in electronic cigarettes may damage blood vessels in the same way as heart disease, according to research published in June 2018.
The chemicals used to give the vapour flavours, such as cinnamon, strawberry and banana, can cause inflammation in cells in the arteries, veins and heart.
They cause the body to react in a way that mimics the early signs of heart disease, heart attacks or strokes, the study by Boston University found.
Other recent studies have also suggested smoking e-cigarettes could cause DNA mutations which lead to cancer, and enable pneumonia-causing bacteria to stick to the lungs easier.
Researchers at New York University subjected human bladder and lung cells to e-cigarette vapor, which is marketed as being healthier than tobacco.
They found the cells mutated and became cancerous much faster than expected and mice exposed to the vapour also suffered significant DNA damage.
In another study, scientists at Queen Mary University, London, found vaping makes users more likely to catch pneumonia – just like smoking tobacco or breathing in traffic fumes.
The vapour from e-cigarettes helps bacteria which cause the condition to stick to the cells that line