People in Derby who use disposable vaping devices are being warned that fake or counterfeit ones could harm their health, their children - and the environment.
Trading Standards officers carried out a test in an independent lab on a fake vaping device they seized.
It contained, amongst other things, three harmful elements - arsenic, lead and formaldehyde.
They also warned of a rapid increase of disposable fake vaping devices being sold to children.
It comes as UK supermarkets are removing one of the most popular e-cigarettes from their shelves, after illegal levels of nicotine were found.
Watermelon-flavoured ELFBAR 600s were found to have at least 50% more than the legal limit for nicotine e-liquid.
What does a compliant vaping product contain ?
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.
But Trading Standards teams say they're finding growing numbers of nicotine-containing vapes being sold with much higher numbers of ‘puffs’.
They say it's a problem because nicotine isn’t just addictive, it’s also a poison.
There are also warnings about how disposable vaping devices are being discarded, and the impact that is having on the environment.
Consumers are being reminded that batteries in disposable vapes can't be placed in the bin.
Experts say even though vaping is thought to be less harmful than smoking, disposable vapes are still damaging the environment.
Disposable vapes are classed as Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE), meaning they should never be disposed of in the bin.
If they are placed in the bin, the batteries can become damaged, causing fires in refuse vehicles or at waste management sites.
The danger from incorrectly disposing of these kinds of vaping products is also on the streets as well.
As they become exposed to the elements like the weather, they begin to break down, leeching heavy metals and pieces of plastic into the environment.
It means valuable materials like copper, gold and lithium that could have been recycled, are lost.
How to spot a fake vape:
purchase them from reputable stores
check 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 said:
“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.”
"A surge in illicit sales"
Trading Standards teams say there has seen a surge in illicit sales of vaping products by specialist vape shops, convenience stores and corner shops over 2022.
Research conducted by the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI), found that illicit vapes are the products Trading Standards professionals are most concerned about on the UK’s high streets.
More than 60% of their members said that they are most worried about shops selling illicit vapes, or selling vaping products to children.