Is your bar up to par? Everything you need to know about non-compliant vape products
Disposable vape pens are well-loved by adult vapers for their simple and easy-to-use format. Prefilled, pre-charged and ready to vape straight from the packet, disposable e-cigarettes are convenient and effective at supporting vapers make the switch to a less harmful alternative.
Recently, however, the vaping world has been inundated with news of vape stores selling illicit, super-strength vape products. And, thanks to the popularity of these products on social media platforms, there are concerns about these products making their way into the possession of hundreds of underage vapers.
A handful of super-strength e-cigs from Geek Bar and Elf Bar have been found on the shelves of numerous UK vape shops and online stores. While the majority of Geek Bars and Elf Bars are compliant with UK legislation, there appear to be a selection of products intended for an international market that have made their way into unsuspecting vape stores.
One such product, the Geek Bar Pro, contains 4.5ml of e-liquid and 50mg of nicotine – more than double the legal limit. Because of its high strength, many vapers have reported side effects such as vomiting, coughing up blood, nose bleeds and severe throat pain.
WHY ARE THESE PRODUCTS NON-COMPLIANT?
In the UK, vape products must comply to legislation set by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). Under the Tobacco and Related Products Regulation (TRPR) of 2016, all e-cigarettes be restricted to a maximum capacity of 2ml and e-liquids should have a maximum nicotine strength of 20mg. Like cigarettes, the sale of vape products is prohibited to children under the age of 18.
Products like the Geek Bar Pro that contain more than 2ml e-liquid with a nicotine strength of more than 20mg do not comply with UK regulations and should not be sold within England, Ireland, Scotland or Wales.
WHAT’S THE DEAL WITH TEENAGERS VAPING?
According to vaping regulations, vape products should only be sold to those aged 18 and older. As many vape products contain nicotine, there are worries about the harm that may be caused.
Nicotine is a highly addictive substance that poses significant risk to all who consume it. It is thought that this risk is increased when consumed by adolescents since it can harm the brain’s attention-span, learning abilities, mood and impulse control. It is also thought that nicotine addiction at such a young age could pose the risk of future addictions to other substances in later life.
WHAT IS BEING DONE TO REMEDY THE SITUATION?
The UK Vaping Industry Association (UKVIA) has called for tougher action against resellers of non-compliant disposable vape products. The UKVIA is actively working with the MHRA and Trading Standards to enforce regulations. Some councils, like North Lanarkshire, are also working with Trading Standards to seize illicit disposable vape pens from numerous vape shops and convenience stores.
Vapers can also exercise caution and vigilance when buying disposable products. When trying a new disposable vape pen, always check the e-liquid capacity and the nicotine strength of each product before buying. This information should be clearly displayed on the outer packaging The product should also come with an information leaflet and a nicotine warning displayed clearly on the outer packaging.
SO, ARE DISPOSABLE E-CIGARETTES UNSAFE?
There are many reasons that vapers choose to vape with a disposable e-cig. And, when using an MHRA-compliant vape, vaping is thought to be up to 95% less harmful than smoking cigarettes.
However, “safety” is a relative term, especially when it comes to vaping. Most e-liquids and disposables contain nicotine – a highly addictive substance. That’s why disposable vape pens are only compliant when sold to adult vapers over the age of 18 and containing up to 2ml of e-liquid at a maximum nicotine strength of 20mg.
WHY ARE DISPOSABLES SO POPULAR?
Disposable e-cigs are pre-filled, pre-charged and ready to vape straight from the packaging. They are also small and lightweight, making them simple to vape on the go. Since they are disposable, they do not require refilling with e-liquids, nor do they need recharging when the battery is depleted. Vapers can simply dispose of and replace.
Smoking is an expensive habit that costs the average vaper around £2,000 a year. In contrast, vaping is much cheaper. With disposable vape pens starting from as little as £3.99 for the equivalent of up to 20 cigarettes, adult smokers can cut the costs by more than half.
IS YOUR BAR UP TO PAR?
To recap, most disposable vapes are compliant with MHRA legislation. However, with illicit products making their way into unsuspecting stores, it is best to make sure your vape bar is up to par by checking the e-liquid capacity and nicotine strength in your chosen disposable e-cigarette.