Tieme ended up in hospital due to vape addiction

Tieme ended up in hospital through vape addiction
Photo credit: Studio040

Tieme van der Heijden (19) from Veldhoven was vaping all day long. He always had one in his pocket and an addiction was born. Until things went wrong and he ended up in hospital. “I could hardly breathe and at first I couldn’t even say a sentence”.

There are no figures on the use of vapes among young people, but there are estimates. These range from one in ten young people who vape to one in four. Addiction institution Novadic Kentron in Eindhoven has been bombarded with questions from worried secondary schools since the end of the corona pandemic.

And those concerns seem justified with Tieme’s story in mind. “I started smoking normally and when I was seventeen I also started vaping. It’s very easy and it doesn’t smell as bad as smoking with all those flavours. You take it out of your pocket and go. At the time I still saw it as a harmless version of smoking”.

And so Tieme started smoking and used a vape every day. A large part of what he earned went to his new hobby. “A vape is around €8 to €9 and I think I spent €90 a week on vapes. I worked and that was why I could afford it, but in retrospect it is really a lot of money”.

Breathe through a straw

And all to maintain an addiction. Although Tieme didn’t even notice that. “Everyone who has an addiction thinks that quitting is very easy, but vaping is more addictive than booze and cigarettes. I can vape anywhere all day long, at home, in the car with friends, really anywhere. And that stopped when I started feeling unwell.”

Tieme still thought that everything was not too bad, but his mother advised him to go to the doctor anyway. “I felt very short of breath and had to cough a lot. It seemed as if I had to breathe through a straw. And the doctor saw that too. He said that I had to go to a hospital immediately, because this was not good”.

In hospital it turned out to be borderline indeed. Tieme experienced things that he did not want to experience as an 18-year-old at the time. “I lay there with oxygen tubes in my nose. As if all the energy had been sucked out of me, and that’s how I felt. My lungs were in a very bad condition, as if I had been hanging above a tank of chlorine for days. I couldn’t even breathe or talk, I had so little air. I had to recover from that for months, climbing stairs, going out of the door and even walking to the toilet. That was just not possible”.

Vapes at school

Tieme has gotten rid of vapes, but they are still widely available in secondary schools. A school boy says: “I see it a lot at school. On the schoolyard but also around school. I’ve tried this vape once, but I think it’s really for sissies. You don’t know what’s in those vapes and where it comes from. That’s where cigarettes give me a better feeling. I also gave away my vape after a month, I didn’t like it”, he adds.

Another student says: “I stand outside every break, and you see everyone walking around with those coloured oxygen bottles. I don’t see it as a big problem. I’m not thinking about the future yet, vapes smell much less than smoking. It seems like you are doing nothing. You don’t know yet how harmful it is. And when you’re out and about, it’s fun to do and you still want to try it”.


It will soon be prohibited to sell flavoured liquids for e-cigarettes. But the question remains whether that is useful. Young people under the age of 18 are not allowed to buy tobacco products. “We suffer from it, but young people still manage to get hold of it”, Paul van Hout of tobacco shop Renata in Eindhoven, says. “Everything is available online”. A young vaper doesn’t worry about it either. “There are always dealers who sell flavours. It’s really possible to get it”.

Source: Studio040

Translated by: Bob


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