The disposable vape sector has enjoyed a significant revival in the last couple of years, appealing as an entry point for adult smokers looking to quit conventional cigarettes.
However, the UKVIA investigation has identified illegal products re-entering the UK market. The problem lies with some distributors who are flouting UK regulations and managing to get these products imported into the country and sell them onto traders and retailers.
£190,000 in a single raid
Reports of seizure of illegal vape products have been pouring in from all over the country. The largest haul was at a former takeaway outlet in Newcastle in November and was worth more than £190,000.
Items have also been seized in raids in Aberdeen, North Lanarkshire and South Ayrshire in Scotland, Stockton-On-Tees, Halton, Walsall, Cherwell in Oxfordshire, Cheltenham and Cirencester in Gloucestershire, and parts of Kent.
Disposable vapes are pre-filled with e-liquids and cost around £6 each.
While the UK regulations mean they should contain no more than 20mg/ml of nicotine (also referred to as 2 per cent), evidence collected by the UKVIA reveals that some listed as containing higher concentrations of nicotine, with some products being openly sold with 50mg/ml strength. Furthermore, product packaging is found to be not including warnings about the nicotine content, which is a legal requirement.
Trading standards at different locations have been regularly investigating the sales of illicit vape products and underage sales of e-cigarettes. Retailers are advised to comply with the regulatory norms and check for the products that have been notified with MHRA.
You don’t have to look far to discover how easy it is to buy illegal vapes in the UK, a quick Google search for the Elux Legend 3500 brings up 100’s of results.
Elux 1500 puff bars
In fact, in my naivety I purchased some Elux 1500 puff bars from a well-known UK distributor, thinking they must be legal as they were openly advertising them and also sending me promotions. I wasn’t until I looked further down the rabbit hole that I found these bar are totally illegal!
I immediately took them off my website and contacted the supplier whose excuse was “It was packed by a new worker by mistake in the factory”. It’s funny how it must of got through their order system, accounts department etc. knowing full well I was based in the UK. They were reported to trading standards as a result.
In fact a quick search on Google displays news articles across the country seizing illegal vapes from online suppliers and shops. This seems incredibly widespread problems as not only are they illegal, many are fake and many contain liquids banned in the UK.
See the following links for a few examples;
These are just a few examples and you can be sure it’s happening around you. Some stores have even been caught selling these products to 12 year olds!
So whilst Trading Standards seem to be taking action, there are always people looking to exploit the law and loopholes at the expense of ethical businesses.
Many of the fake or illegal devices are specifically aimed at children.
UK Vaping Industry Association calls for tough action against resellers of non-compliant disposable vape products
Illegal disposable vape products are being widely sold across the UK and are available on some of the best known online marketplaces.
An investigation by UKVIA, the UK’s largest vaping trade body, has revealed that some retailers are flouting UK laws and selling products that do not comply with UK regulations on nicotine content
The UKVIA is asking that a hard line be taken against unscrupulous resellers and retailers and is in active discussions with the Medicines & Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and Trading Standards to address this problem.
See link: https://www.ukvia.co.uk/uk-vaping-industry-association-calls-for-tough-action-against-resellers-of-non-compliant-disposable-vape-products/#:~:text=Disposable%20vapes%20are%20pre%2Dfilled,openly%20sold%20with%2050mg%2Fml
The pressure is on trading standards to address this issue as it’s not only unethical but dangerous!
We would encourage anyone seeing these products for sale to repot them to their local Trading Standards or local council body.
If you suspect a company of shop selling illegal or fake disposable vaping products, you can find your local trading standards department here;
As someone who quit smoking using disposable vape bars, my ambition was to help others quit the harmful cigarettes and tobacco. I certainly don’t want to encourage people to buy illegal, harmful and poisonous vaping products.
Together with a great IT expert we will be putting more focus and emphasis on illegal products.