FOR nearly 15 years, Terry Miller tried to give up smoking for the sake of his grandkids.
Nicotine patches, lozenges and even hypnotherapy failed to stop the 20-a-day habit.
So his wife Glynis was delighted when Terry, a former glass factory worker, discovered e-cigarettes for sale in a pharmacy near their home in Jarrow, Tyne and Wear.
Terry, a dad of two with four grandchildren, began using them in October 2009.
Glynis said: “At first he felt much better. I was so happy he’d at last found a healthier alternative to cigarettes. How wrong I was.
“Eight months later he was dead, and I am convinced if he hadn’t started vaping he’d still be alive.”
‘CERTAIN IT WAS CAUSED BY E-CIG’
Nine years after his sudden death at the age of 57, it has been claimed Terry may be the first Briton to die as a result of vaping.
Three weeks before Terry’s death in August 2010, medics at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Gateshead found oil particles in his lungs.
Glynis, who has a degree in healthcare, told The Sun: “How did oil get in to his lungs? In my opinion, the only explanation is the vaping.
“The doctor said he was as certain as he could be that it was caused by the e-cigarette.”
Terry, who used over-the-counter liquids, was suffering from lipoid pneumonia, the same condition that is spreading fear in the US, where 14 people have died this year and 805 others have been struck down with severe breathing problems that may have been caused by vaping.
Some experts believe the lung disease could be caused by the vaping process of inhaling an aerosolised liquid.
In the US, 80 per cent of victims vaped tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a component of cannabis.
Michael Linnell, co-ordinator of UK DrugWatch, said: “There is a market for THC here but not the supply.
“It’s just not readily available and it’s expensive. We believe a lot of what is sold as THC vape in this country, through dealers or on social media, isn’t THC.”
So users may be buying something far more dangerous. Authorities in the US are so concerned that politicians have moved to clamp down on e-cigarettes.
On Monday, a judge in Michigan rejected an appeal by a vaping company to block a ban on the sale of flavoured e-cigarettes.
Thailand, Brazil, India and Singapore have banned vaping and Denmark has warned: “Nobody should be smoking e-cigarettes.”
Public Health England maintains vaping is 95 per cent safer than smoking cigarettes.
But UK watchdog the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency listed 200 health problems from people who think their vaping has caused issues including heart disorders and pneumonia.
In the past five years the MHRA has recorded 74 cases with illnesses, 49 of them serious.
In the British Medical Journal last year, four Birmingham doctors revealed how a young female vaper was stuck down by lipoid pneumonia, just like Terry.
When Terry died nearly a decade ago, fewer than 700,000 British people used e-cigs.
Today, 3.6million — a rise of 12.5 per cent in a year — are vaping, according to the tobacco-control charity ASH.
ADS MAKE IT APPEALING
This week research found that social media pictures of celebs vaping are fuelling a surge in under-18s trying it.
The London’s King’s College study revealed nearly four in ten teens said ads made it appealing.
In the US, where it is estimated more than five million children vape, Michael Bloomberg, former Mayor of New York, is funding a £130million campaign to stop vaping firms using the same tactics that, “once lured kids to cigarettes”.
Last month in California, 18-year-old Simah Herman shared pictures of her on a ventilator to stop people vaping, after three years of the habit caused lung failure.
Kevin Burns, boss of America’s biggest e-cig maker Juul, a company that wants to dominate the British market, last week quit amid rising outrage over targeting teenagers.
Juul Labs has tried to head off a crackdown with a series of voluntary steps, including halting sales of several flavours and shutting down its social media presence. But political pressure has only increased.
New chief KC Crosthwaite said: “We must strive to work with regulators, policymakers and other stakeholders and earn the trust of the societies in which we operate.”
She said: “Is this a ticking time bomb? Will they turn out to have long-term consequences? I do — and will continue to — worry.
“We don’t know what the effects are of long-term use, or about the effect on people who may be upping their nicotine addiction by using them as well as smoking.”
Mark Ridley/The Sun