top of page



  • Facebook Clean Grey
  • Twitter Clean Grey
  • Instagram Clean Grey

12-year-old girl put in induced coma after vaping made her lungs too weak to fight infection

Sarah Griffin’s lungs were left ‘very weak’ after vaping (Picture: NICHS)

A 12-year-old girl was left in a coma after vaping made her lungs so weak she was unable to fight off an infection.

Sarah Griffin, who is asthmatic, developed an infection which left her struggling to breathe.

Her oxygen levels became so low she was taken to intensive care and induced into a coma for three days.

Sarah’s mum Mary, from Belfast, said doctors told her vaping had left her daughter’s lungs ‘very weak’.

She said: ‘The doctors explained if Sarah had not have been vaping, she would have been in a better position to fight off the infection.

‘The doctors said if Sarah had have got to hospital any later the outcome would have been entirely different.

‘That is something I can’t even think about.’

Sarah is now recovering at home.

Her parents first dismissed her symptoms as asthma after she began coughing one evening.

Despite using an inhaler and nebuliser, Sarah’s symptoms would not ease, and she was struggling to breathe.

Ms Griffin told Belfast Live: ‘Her cough was no different from any other time.

‘That morning I was taking my other two children to school when Sarah rang and said, “Come back mummy, I don’t feel well, I’m afraid”.

Sarah’s dad rushed her to Royal Victoria Hospital where medics discovered her oxygen levels had dropped dangerously low.

Ms Griffin said: ‘Sarah also had an infection, so everything combined had a massive impact on her body, extremely quickly.

Sarah’s mum Mary said she was told her daughter may die (Picture: NICHS)

‘There were tubes, wires, and machines everywhere — it was heartbreaking to see her like that. As her mum I just felt so helpless. It was a nightmare come true.

‘Sarah has an older brother and two younger siblings and trying to explain to them what was happening was awful.

‘They were asking if she was going to die, and I was saying, “Of course not”, but in my mind I was terrified that was a real possibility.’

But after three days, Sarah was brought out of her coma and her ventilator was removed.

Her family shared their story as part of Northern Ireland Chest Heart Heart & Stroke’s (NICHS) campaign to prevent young people from taking up vaping.

Fidelma Carter, head of public health at NICHS, said: ‘The biggest misunderstanding about vapes is that they are harmless compared to cigarettes.

‘This is not true, and this message needs to change to prevent more young people from taking up and getting addicted to vaping because they think they are risk-free.

‘The long-term health implications are unknown – just as they once were with tobacco.’

It comes as Rishi Sunak has committed to banning vaping among children, saying the flavours and packaging were targeted towards youngsters.

Credit: metro


bottom of page