Don't fall foul of a fake vape

Published: 3 February 2023

Two disposable vapes on two hands

The batteries in disposable vapes mean they can't be placed in the bin.

The market for vapes has exploded in recent years and are thought to be less harmful than smoking. But disposable vapes are also damaging our environment and counterfeit and non-compliant vapes could be harmful to your health.

It’s estimated that over 1 million devices are tossed into bins every week in the UK.

Disposable vapes are classed as Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE), meaning they should never be disposed of in the bin. When placed in the bin, the batteries can become damaged causing fires in refuse vehicles or at waste management sites.

Unfortunately, disposable vapes are now commonly littered on streets as well. As they become exposed to the elements, they begin to break down, leeching heavy metals and pieces of plastic into the environment and valuable materials like copper, gold and lithium, that could have been recycled are lost.

Disposable vapes can be taken to Raynesway HWRC for recycling, but an even better choice is to invest in a reusable vape kit.

Another growing concern surrounding disposable vapes is the rapid increase of counterfeit and non-compliant items being sold across the country, including to children.

In the UK, to be compliant, a disposable vape containing nicotine can have up to 600 ‘puffs’. This means that the volume of e-liquid inside can’t be more than 2ml and it can’t have more than 20mg of nicotine per ml of e-liquid.

However, Trading Standards are finding increasing numbers of nicotine-containing vapes being sold with much higher numbers of ‘puffs’. This is a problem because nicotine isn’t just addictive, it’s also a poison.

And, as with many products on the market, the fakes soon follow. A counterfeit vape seized by the Trading Standards team was tested in an independent lab and was found to contain, amongst other things, Arsenic, Lead and Formaldehyde.

To avoid falling foul of a fake or non-compliant vape, consumers should purchase them from reputable stores and check that the device is compliant and has the CE, UKCA mark or both. If the packaging contains spelling errors, it could be a fake.

Councillor Jerry Pearce, Cabinet Member for Streetpride, Leisure and Public Spaces commented:

“Whilst choosing vaping might be better for our health, the sale and supply of non-compliant and counterfeit vapes is clearly concerning. When our Trading Standards team see these items for sale, they will be seized and removed from sale.

“Additionally, vaping is being viewed as better for our environment but this isn’t the case when millions of these products are binned or littered every week. I’d encourage residents to do the responsible thing and choose a reusable device or to take disposable vapes to Raynesway for recycling.”

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