New Data shows millions of illegal vapes seized in UK in 3 years
Trading Standards collects potentially hazardous and illegal vapes as the number of teenagers vaping in the UK is rising drastically.
Trading Standards has collected millions of potentially hazardous and illegal vapes in the last three years, data shows, but experts warn that this is just the "tip of the iceberg" and a “tsunami” of products is flooding into the UK.
Freedom of information requests to 125 local authorities unmasked that more than two and a half million illicit e-cigarettes were amassed since the beginning of 2020.
Statistics reveal that 1,352,063 illegal vapes were taken by Hillingdon borough council's trade standards in west London alone. It is worth noting that Heathrow Airport, where thousands of illegal vapes are coming, is located in the council district.
The e-cigarettes may have larger nicotine liquid tanks, greater nicotine concentration levels, or substances that are prohibited by UK law. They also may not comply with UK regulatory requirements. According to earlier research, illegal vapes had significant concentrations of lead, nickel, and chromium.
Alarming rise in youth vaping
In light of the fact that the long-term effects of disposable vapes, which come in a rainbow of colors and flavors, doctors have urged for an outright ban on them.
The newest poll by Action on Smoking and Health (Ash) indicates a surge in recent years, which has raised growing concerns about youth vaping in Britain. In 2022, 7% of the 11 to 17-year-olds polled reported vaping, up from 3.3% in 2021.
Meanwhile, the vaping business is also urging stricter enforcement of laws and the same level of seriousness to be applied to unlawful vaping goods as to counterfeit cigarettes.
The Kent County Council confiscated 329,276 illegal vapes in 2021 and thus far has seized 49,528 in 2023. The chief commercial standards officer for the council, Oliver Jewell, stated that e-cigarettes "play a legitimate part in the efforts to reduce smoking prevalence figures."
Read next: High lead and nickel found in illegal vapes
He added: “Disposable e-cigarettes grew rapidly in popularity throughout 2022 and can be a highly profitable commodity for retailers, which in turn leads to some seeking a competitive edge by stocking illegal products.”
Data revealed that 28 municipalities spent £9,000 over the previous three years testing vape items. The government introduced an "illicit vapes enforcement squad" earlier this year, headed by trade standards. Ministers said that it will be supported by £3 million in financing, undertake test purchases, and remove restricted goods from stores and border crossing points.
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “It is illegal to sell nicotine vapes to children and we are concerned about the recent rises in youth vaping, particularly because of the unknown long-term harms."