I have noticed a trend over the last few weeks of a panic about disposable vapes in the UK media.
I am still keeping track of all the news headlines related to vaping for my News Tracker.
There are a lot of vapers who are sceptical about this form of vaping and I totally understand why.
In general the reputation of disposable vapes brings a lot of negativity to vaping. Also it was widely predicted that these devices would result in a lot of bad press for vaping in the future, which does seem to be coming true.
There is also the issue of waste and general environmental impact.
If used by adults who want to try vaping for less expenditure or if someone needs a vape in a hurry I think they serve a useful purpose.
But what is becoming apparent is that there is a lot more teenage experimentation with disposables, plus this brings up the question of how under age people are able to purchase these?
Below are some articles taken from the last few weeks regarding this issue and they are pretty full on pushing some bullshit claims too.
I understand they are trying to put teens off vaping – which is fair enough, but they are also detering older smokers who may have considered vaping as a way to quit smoking.
Yeah sort of expected isn’t it from the DM. Basically this scare story relates to the bullshit “Popcorn Lung” theory of vaping Diacetyl in e-liquid. This compound has been banned for many years and you won’t find legal e-liquid containing this. Kind of a very low blow from the DM.
As you would expect thankfully this utter horse shit has prompted a backlash on Twitter…
— Gregory Conley (@GregTHR) July 14, 2022
— Michael Redfearn (@RedfearnMike) July 14, 2022
Re: insane Daily Mail story from @mansurshaheen that cited unnamed “experts” linking popcorn lung to vaping. In a particularly deceitful move, the ‘experts’ he quotes say no such thing.
One person quoted feels his remarks were taken out of context. https://t.co/mHCICky0by
— Gregory Conley (@GregTHR) July 14, 2022
This is a whole thread of response to the story – click on the Tweet to view…
This is a new low for British media coverage of vaping. 1/ https://t.co/Iy8fn3Pnfk
— Christopher Snowdon 🇺🇦 (@cjsnowdon) July 14, 2022
Teen from Arizona US – it is worth mentioning that vapes can go up to 50mg nicotine strength there so that may be a factor – who knows.
This article also calls for bans for children buying vapes – which are already in place!
This relates to Wales and a Deputy Head Teacher from a school there is quoted as saying:
”In the old days you could smell cigarettes or tobacco,” he said. “If you light a cigarette it takes a certain amount of time to disappear.
“With these [vapes] you can have one quick puff, you can keep it in your pocket, you can keep it on you all day and you can’t smell it.”
This article seems to have some facts regarding the Trading Standards organisation trying to keep on top of illegal vapes. Thankfully they have included a graphic to help people recognise whether their vape is legal.
This article includes an example from an 18 year old in Borehamwood…
“I can just sit in bed and vape and be on Facetime to my friends at the same time,” she says.
“It’s always in my hand, so you just do it all the time.
“It got to the point where I was getting through two vapes a week, with 3,500 puffs in each.”
Then the article goes into dodgy territory blaming vaping for dental issues which has already been debunked by experts.
I won’t lie – I am unable to read this article due to it being behind a paywall. Even ASH (Action on Smoking and Health) have kicked off to deny the rubbish claims that are made. Again this is a Twitter thread…
“The glamorous promotion of vaping on social media is completely inappropriate and social media platforms should take responsibility.”
Arnott emphasises “Smoking is still the leading cause of premature death. That’s what’s killing people; not vaping.”https://t.co/C5lqSz8fQT
— ASH (@AshOrgUK) July 14, 2022
The full article also includes claims suggesting e-cigarette use leads to gum disease. This is contrary to available evidence, as explained in a ‘Letter to the Editor’ by Dr Richard Holliday and Professor Elaine McColl, published in The Times. pic.twitter.com/wnRvDkqZHy
— ASH (@AshOrgUK) July 14, 2022
What Has Triggered This?
The lighting of the fuse appears to be an article in The Times on 2nd June 2022 which is sadly behind a paywall, but I did get to read it once – before the paywall kicked in.
As you can see Elf Bar disposables were singled out as being addictive and the article also brought up dental problems which the newspaper attributed to vaping. As mentioned above this received a backlash of dental professionals denying this was actually the case. But the stage was prepared for more scare stories about disposables.
Lots of discussion on e-cigarettes and gum disease over the last couple of days.
Thanks to the Times for publishing our letter and @LBCNews for covering this. https://t.co/qxP7AdTtmS@BSPerio @TheBDA @NewcastleSDS @EMMMcColl @NCSCT @AshOrg @DiamondJimbo @LindaBauld pic.twitter.com/UT9IYvcFef
— Richard Holliday (@DrRichHolliday) June 9, 2022
The issue of social media such as TikTok and Instagram arises too as a lot of blame is being put on influencers and viral videos which are apparently promoting vaping to youngsters.
Perhaps this is true, being 46 I have no concept of “influencers”? Seeing someone famous doing something does not have any impact on me at all. Even sometimes it actually puts me off whatever they are advertising. Is this happening to young people? I don’t know?
Luckily in the UK for many years vaping has been seen as a bit of a geeky hobby, so mainly teens have not found it appealing.
But looking at some of the figures from the ASH (Action on Smoking and Health) recent survey says that 52% of young vapers use disposables which is a 7% increase on 2020.
I am torn on this issue as nobody wants underage people using vapes full stop. But also would these teenagers be the ones who would take up smoking anyway? So if they are choosing vapes rather than cigarettes does this mean the tobacco free generation is already starting?
It is such a hairy topic and even mentioning causes a lot of disagreement. I think originally the UK were fine with disposables, just a few on the market from well known brands. But sadly the popularity of these has taken off with cheapo and fake versions hitting our shores and it’s those which I think are dangerous. Who knows what chemicals go into the tank and even worse they might be electronically dodgy.
My recommendation is to buy well known good brands, with 2ml of e-liquid or less. To be legal in the UK the nic strength has to be 20mg or below. So should be easy to spot dodgy ones as they won’t meet these requirements.
Regulated legal vapes are not harmful, just try and steer clear of any dodgy ones which are from unknown brands, high nicotine strength or high capacity (over 2ml).
This hysteria is mainly due to illegal vapes, not the Elf Bars and Geek Bars you buy from a trusty local vape shop. But even they can be copies so make sure to check they are authentic using the systems in place.
Big vape brands such as Innokin, Wotofo etc are now making disposables so sticking to a well known brand would be your best bet.
I have personally seen discarded disposables when out walking my dog and sadly I don’t recognise a majority of them. They appear to not be from respected companies which is scary. So they are getting into customers hands somehow and this is what needs to be clamped down on.
What Can You Do?
If someone you know is into disposables try and get them onto legal well-known ones for their own safety.
Report any dodgy vapes to Trading Standards which are also backed by the UKVIA and other vape industry bodies to crack down on illegal supplies. The UKVIA also publish their own guide to staying within the law when selling vaping products.