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What Chemicals Are In Vapes?

Jul 18, 2023

In May 2023, teachers confiscated some illegal vapes from school pupils. When a laboratory tested these vapes, they found high levels of potentially harmful substances including lead, nickel, and chromium. They also found the same sorts of hazardous chemicals, such as formaldehyde and acetaldehyde, that are sometimes detected in cigarette smoke.

It’s important to bear in mind that all of the vapes confiscated and tested in this case were illegal vapes.

What Are Highlighter Vapes?

Most were “highlighter vapes”, which are designed with bright colours so they can be disguised as highlighter pens.

Do All Vapes Contain These Harmful Chemicals?

Illegal vapes will not have gone through any testing before they appeared on UK markets. Before they can be legally sold in the UK, vapes must meet certain regulations set out by the Medicine and Health Care Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). These regulations don’t just apply to vapes’ ingredients, but also to their packaging and marketing.

What Chemicals are in Legal Vapes?

The e-liquid in a legal vape will typically include:

  • Propylene glycol (a common food additive, often used as a preservative).
  • Vegetable glycerine (a plant-based, syrupy liquid used in many herbal preparations).
  • Various flavourings.

Are Vapes Safe to Use?

The NHS advises that vapes are “far less harmful than cigarettes”, but that they “are not recommended for non-smokers and cannot be sold to people under 18 years old.”

They are healthier than cigarettes because, when you use them, you inhale a vapour, rather than smoke. This means you avoid all of the most damaging elements produced when you burn tobacco, such as tar and carbon monoxide. Though vapes do contain some potentially harmful chemicals, they’re at much lower levels than they are in cigarettes.

However, the NHS notes that “the long-term risks of vaping are not yet clear”. Plus, excessive vaping does seem to have some harmful side effects, especially for young people who have never smoked.

Avoid Illegal Vapes At All Costs

Whether you use vapes or you sell vapes, this story highlights the importance of avoiding illegal vapes at all costs. Only ever choose vapes that meet the MHRA guidelines. If they do not, then there’s no telling what sort of harmful substances they could contain.

The government has produced some essential guidelines for consumers.

Specialist Support For Vape Retailers

Another thing this story highlights is how you should never sell vapes to anyone under the age of 18. You must also ensure that any vapes you sell meet the government regulations. To help with this, the government has published a specialist set of guidelines for vape retailers and producers.

You can also read our guidance to choosing a reliable wholesalers for your vape shop, which can help ensure that everything you sell meets the regulatory requirements.

If you sell vapes, either online or offline, we can help you get the specialist vape insurance you need at a price you can afford. For more information, call us on 0208 290 9080 or email ecig@anthonyjones.com.

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