‘Tidal wave’ of super-strength illegal vapes flooding our streets

Thousands of illegal vapes have been seized from Derbyshire businesses in the last 10 months. Super-strong concentrations of nicotine as well as issues around displaying manufacturer details and health warnings are just some of the ways a vaping product can be illegal[1].

Since June 2022, more than 8,000 illegal units from around 60 local businesses have been confiscated by Derbyshire County Council’s Trading Standards team[2]. Complaints from the public about traders selling non-compliant products have risen five-fold in the past year.

The current regulations specify that vapes are required to have tanks with a capacity of no more than 2ml, a nicotine strength of no more than 20mg/ml, and their labels should display manufacturer details and health warnings. Any vapes that have contents exceeding these amounts are illegal products and should not be sold to consumers.

While there is no definitive health risk to using non-compliant vapes, the Medical and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) strongly advises consumers not to use them as the true content is unknown and could therefore pose a health risk.

According to the latest figures highlighted by the CTSI, more than 138 million disposable vapes are sold every year, and with one in three products being potentially non-compliant, that is more than 45 million non-compliant products being sold every year. Trading Standards officers across the country are working to try to combat the “tidal wave” of non-compliant vapes being sold.

Trading standards officers in Derbyshire have already diverted resources from other areas of work to try to tackle the issue in the county and clamp down on the illegal trade and underage sales of such products. Cabinet Member for Health and Communities Councillor Carol Hart said: “Our Trading Standards officers are working tirelessly to crack down on the sale of illegal vaping products but the influx to our county and nationwide is huge and it’s a tough task.

“These products can be illegal for a number of reasons, including the strength and content of the product, and that means that many of them could pose a health risk. It’s our job to protect consumers and also legitimate traders and we are putting in as many resources as we can to try to tackle this problem.

“Rest assured the team are doing all they can and we’re asking people to continue to report any concerns they may have and they will be investigated. While not smoking at all is obviously better for everyone, it is important to remember that vapes that are compliant with the law are substantially less harmful than smoking cigarettes and can be effective for helping people quit smoking.”

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  1. ^ vaping product can be illegal (www.derbytelegraph.co.uk)
  2. ^ Derbyshire County Council’s Trading Standards team (www.derbytelegraph.co.uk)
  3. ^ Loscoe Chilled Foods meat fraud probe sees three people arrested (www.derbytelegraph.co.uk)
  4. ^ our Crime and Punishment newsletter (data.reachplc.com)

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