Teenage boy collapsed after one puff of vape bought in 'counterfeit capital' Cheetham Hill

  • Headteacher Glyn Potts is urging caution over young people using vape pens after one of his students collapsed after one puff.

A teenager collapsed after just one puff of a vape purchased in the 'counterfeit capital,' a high school headteacher has warned.

It comes as a new crackdown on vape marketing is announced by the government which Rishi Sunak says will prevent the “unacceptable” targeting of children and young people.

Glyn Potts, headteacher at Blessed John Henry Newman RC College, spoke of how pupils were left 'shocked' and 'scared' after their classmate became unwell and passed out near the school gates after his first ever puff of a vape pen.

  • Mr Potts says a lot of the vapes bought by young people are "repurposed" and there is no way of knowing what is inside them before they are purchased.

It was later revealed that the child had purchased the modified disposable vape, which claimed to contain CBD oil, in Cheetham Hill, renowned for counterfeit goods.

Mr Potts said: "It wasn't a brand of vape pen that people would understand or know, it was one that had been repurposed and there is absolutely no way of knowing what was in the pen and enough for the young man to feel unwell and collapse."

The child made a full recovery from the incident but Mr Potts is warning of the dangers of vaping on young people's health.

"We don't know what is going in the vapes themselves, and a number of them are repurposed," he said.

"We are seeing vapes that have been reignited with chemicals and toxins that we don't know about."

The survey showed a sharp increase in vaping among 11 to 17 year olds from 4% in 2020, before the first lockdown, to 7% in 2022. Credit: PA Images

A number of schools in the region have seen similar events as the number of vapes "repurposed for illicit means" grows, according to Mr Potts.

"Young people need advice and information that this type of device is not safe," he said.

"Even in the most simple nicotine vape, they contain 12 times the amount of nicotine that a cigarette does.

"I'm not sure that an 11, 12, 13-year-old body can handle that."

Mr Potts said the incident had left the pupil's classmates shaken and 'worried'.

"It does shock and scare young people when they see their friends become ill after just puffing on what appears to be innocuous white smoke," he said.

Mr Potts went on to say that there is a misconception that vaping is safe but "we're actually creating nicotine-addicted young people, which is then leading to other challenges and other illnesses."

Appealing flavours like cherry blossom "come with the same dangers", says Mr Potts, and there is a lack of understanding on the long-term risks.

He called for action to be taken outside of schools to tackle a lack of information and advice around the dangers of vaping for young people.

"It needs to be a joined up approach", the headteacher said. "It needs to include what we are teaching in the curriculum alongside notifications by the NHS and youth groups as well.

"We need to give young people the option to have conversations with trusted adults so they can understand the dangers that are involved."

Vapes can be legally sold to anyone over the age of 18 in the UK.

On Tuesday, it was announced ministers have pledged to close a loophole allowing retailers to give free samples of vapes to children in England, amid concerns over the proportion of children trying e-cigarettes.

The move comes days after the prime minister used an appearance on ITV’s Good Morning Britain to express concern about his own daughters potentially being targeted by vape marketing.

The Government said that there will also be a review into banning retailers selling “nicotine-free” vapes to under-18s.

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