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Report: Nicotine free high street vapes sold across UK contain the same level of addictive substances as e-cigarettes

Inter Scientific conducted a test which was shared with The Guardian, revealing that some high street vapes sold across England and Wales that claim to be nicotine-free actually contain the same level of addictive substances as full-strength e-cigarettes. This discovery comes as the UK government recently began its smoke-free drive amid concerns about the increasing number of teenagers using them. The study by Inter Scientific showed that illicit sales of oversized and overstrength vapes continue across the UK.

Additionally, at least eight devices that claim to be free of addictive substances contained almost 20mg/ml of nicotine, which is the legal limit in the UK. Meanwhile, out of 52 vapes purchased in England, 73% were above the legal e-cigarette tank capacity of 2ml, and over 40% of those tested contained 5ml of liquid or more.

None of the e-cigarettes Inter Scientific studied were listed in the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, indicating that there is no record of any harm associated with them. This is noteworthy as vapes are required to display the manufacturer’s details as well as a list of ingredients and relevant health warnings.

The chief executive at Inter Scientific, David Lawson, explained that they have observed a large increase in the number of illegal vape products being seized by trading standards and sent for analysis. Though these products don’t pose an immediate health risk, they are circumventing UK regulation.

The Guardian reported that the UK government launched an ‘illicit vapes enforcement squad’ as part of a crackdown on the sale of e-cigarettes to people under the age of 18. This is because, according to the latest report by Action on Smoking and Health (Ash), in 2022, seven per cent of the 11 to 17-year-olds surveyed in the UK said they used vapes as compared to 3.3 per cent a year prior.

Moreover, the UK government recently announced plans for one million smokers to swap cigarettes for vapes under the ‘swap to stop’ initiative. This scheme will offer e-cigarette starter kits to almost one in five people in England.

The aim of this initiative is to encourage smokers to quit tobacco and move to a less harmful alternative like vaping.

In summary, the study by Inter Scientific revealed that some high street vapes sold across England and Wales that claim to be nicotine-free contain addictive substances similar to full-strength e-cigarettes.

The UK government has launched an enforcement squad to crack down on the sale of e-cigarettes to minors and is also encouraging smokers to switch to vapes under the ‘swap to stop’ initiative.

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