How To Avoid Dangerous Illegal Vaping Devices

/ 4 minute read

How To Avoid Dangerous Illegal Vaping Devices

Vape safety has become a major focus in recent weeks and months, but has been a hotly debated issue for years now. More recent issues within the disposable vaping sector of the industry have given rise to this debate once more, with products being withdrawn from shelves after being found to be non-compliant.

This has shaken public confidence in vaping products; however, the industry is no stranger to controversy, with the USA ‘EVALI’ outbreak still echoing in news reports years after it emerged. While initially it was believed that vaping products in general were the root cause of a spate of lung illness which swept America. It was later discovered that the true cause was people inhaling illegal and untested substances via single use vape pods that had been cracked open and refilled.

Most recently we have seen an example of a ‘spiked’ vape causing harm at the Isle of White Festival, the Daily Mail reports. In response to increasing fears around vape safety, we have compiled our best practice tips to help you spot illegal or potentially unsafe vaping products.

Never accept a vape from a stranger

The aforementioned example of a spiked vape falling into innocent hands highlights an issue of safety that must be addressed. Unless you know and trust the person and understand the product, they are offering you, you should never accept a vaping device from a stranger.

The risks here are potentially huge as even one drag of a device containing anything other than e-liquid could proved disastrous for your health as it did for the festival goer. There is no telling in that brief moment of being offered and accepting a puff on a strangers device what it may contain, where it has been, and what that person’s intentions are towards you or others.

Moreover, there is no way for you to know what e-liquid they are using. Even if it was legitimate, the nicotine strength alone could leave you feeling unwell, and there is no guarantee that you won’t get a reaction form an ingredient flagged as an allergen as you won’t have access to the ingredients list. Worse still, there’s no telling if they’ve added an illicit substance, which is the most dangerous risk of all.

How to Spot a ‘Spiked’ Vape

  • If visible, observe the e-liquid in whatever device you are being handed. If it looks an odd colour (anything other than clear to amber) then it should not be trusted. If you cannot check the liquid at all before using the device, then avoid it altogether. THC and other illicit vape liquids tend to be very dark in colour, even green.
  • Check for any damaged parts or signs of tampering. This applies particularly to pod devices that are intended to be sealed, single use units. In some cases, people have been known to crack these open to refill them with illicit substances in these cases they will need to use tools to get the job done, which can leave visible marks or damage to the device/pod – if you notice this on a strangers device, avoid it at all costs.
  • Less obvious perhaps for beginners, but an important thing to note is the packaging and branding of a device you are being sold or offered at random. Most illicitly sold drug-infused vapes utilise lesser-known pod or very basic clearomiser style setups which stand out from normal vape kits. If you don’t recognise the device, then it’s best to avoid it altogether – and remember that this is not a perfect science as there are many counterfeits in circulation from disreputable retailers.

How to Spot an Illegal Vape

There are some key things to look out for to help you spot an illegal vape – there are plenty out there as a recent report from Salford highlighted. These devices may even be on the shelves of some retailers, so before you buy observe the below points:

  • The legal limit for nicotine in the UK is 20mg/ml, also written on disposable products as 2% nicotine. Anything above this is illegal and is a sign the product may not be legitimate.
  • Most disposable vapes offer a 600 puff performance level. This is the most you should ever expect to see as in order for a device to produce more than this, it would need to contain over 2ml of e-liquid, which is illegal. If the device offers over 600 puffs and is larger than other models, avoid it.
  • Check the packaging for warnings. If buying a disposable vape, check the packaging before buying. It should contain a series of nicotine warnings, safety messages and hazard statements/symbols. as well as a full ingredients list in descending order with all allergens highlighted. If any of this information is missing, avoid the product.