Are Disposable Vapes Safe?

/ 3 min read

Are Disposable Vapes Safe?

If you’re no stranger to TikTok, you might have noticed a sudden influx of UK-based youngsters claiming to be addicted to disposable vape devices. Available in most local corner shops, their bright colours and portable designs are proving popular with consumers - but are they as harmless as they look?

As their name suggests, these disposable devices are designed to be used once and then discarded. However, with concerns about the safety of vaping and the potential health risks associated with it, many people are wondering: are disposable vapes safe?

With recent reports suggesting that users may be suffering from adverse side effects, we look into the growing trend of disposable vape devices.

Disposable Vapes

What are disposable vapes?

Currently enjoying a huge surge in popularity, disposable vape pens are pre-filled vape devices that come in a range of menthol and non-menthol flavours. Unlike EDGE’s vape devices, they cannot be refilled or recharged, and the entire vape pen is thrown away after around 575 puffs.

You can recognise disposable vapes by their small, portable silhouette that resembles traditional cigarettes or cigars. They contain a battery, a heating element, and a cartridge filled with liquid nicotine or other substances such as flavourings. When you inhale on the device, the heating element vaporises the liquid inside the cartridge, producing a cloud of vapour that you then breathe into your lungs.

Disposable vapes require no maintenance or refilling. Once the cartridge is empty, you throw away the device and replace it with a new one.

What are the dangers surrounding disposable vapes?

Most disposable vape devices are pre-filled with 20mg of nicotine, which is the legal limit in the UK. However, an increasing number of consumers are getting their hands on illegal devices that can contain as much as 50mg of nicotine. These products are often sourced from in other markets, such as China and the US, where this is a common and legal strength.

Now, these illicit products are making their way into convenience stores across the UK, as unlicensed sellers capitalise on the demand for popular disposable vape brands. A number of convenience retailers have expressed concern about unwittingly stocking these illegal products, Better Retailing reports. These products, which are illegal for UK resale, have been developed specifically for the US market - but many retailers and consumers are missing important warning labels, contributing to a rise of these products in the UK.

As such, there is a concern that disposable vapes may contribute to nicotine addiction among young people. Children are reported to have bought disposable vapes from supermarkets - these devices come in flavours such as bubble gum or cotton candy, which means that they may appeal to children and teenagers who would otherwise never consider smoking.

Nicotine is highly addictive and can have serious health consequences for young people, whose brains are still developing. It can affect mood, memory, attention span, and impulse control. These unregulated vaping devices could contain banned substances, such as diacetyl - which has been linked to popcorn lung amongst vapers.

Social media platforms are currently rife with users complaining about the side effects of these illegal, potentially harmful devices entering the UK market - with many reporting incidents of throat and nose bleeding related to their use. Of course, this is extremely worrying, and we’d advise consumers to steer clear of any disposable products they are unsure of.

How are disposable vapes safe and appealing to young people?

Many of the most popular disposable vape devices are designed in a range of bright, monochromatic colours, with no buttons or switches - all you need to do to activate is inhale. This makes certain brands extremely attractive to youngsters, who are less likely to be aware of the dangers of illicit products on the market.

The regulation of disposable vape products varies from country to country. In some countries, like Canada and Australia, these products are heavily regulated or even banned altogether due to their potential health risks. However, in countries like the United States, where regulation is less strict at this time, there is concern about easy access for minors. Thankfully, there have been recent efforts by government agencies in the US to restrict access, and this may help to prevent the spread of this problem.

Doctor looking through a microscope

What health issues can disposable vapes cause?

Inhaling vapour from unregulated disposable vapes can irritate the respiratory system and cause a range of issues including coughing, wheezing or shortness of breath. The aerosol produced by disposable vapes that contain more nicotine than the legal limit (or other chemicals) can be harmful when inhaled over time.

Some studies suggest that vaping excessively - particularly when using devices that do not pass regulatory standards - may cause inflammation in the airways that could lead to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or other respiratory conditions. Read more about doctors’ warnings over Elf and geek bars here.

Are disposable vapes safe compared with traditional smoking?

While there are risks associated with using disposable vapes, many experts agree that they are still safer than traditional smoking. According to Public Health England (PHE), vaping is 95% less harmful than smoking tobacco.

This does not mean that vaping is completely without risk – there are still potential health hazards associated with it – but it does suggest that it may be a useful tool for smokers who want to make the switch. In fact, healthcare experts defend vaping to some extent, so it is important for users to do their research as more research is published about the effects of vaping.

How can I ensure my disposable vape pen is safe?

If you choose to use a disposable vape pen, you should ensure you purchase the product from a reputable seller. Unfortunately, this isn’t always enough, as many convenience stores are being drawn in by unlicensed sellers to keep up with demand. That’s why it’s important to check the label on your disposable vape pens to make sure they are compliant with UK laws, i.e. that they contain a maximum of 20mg of nicotine. If your disposable vapes are missing this information, you should approach them with caution. If you start to feel any negative side effects after inhaling from your disposable vape, do not continue to use it and consult with your GP immediately.

In short, whilst disposable vape pens are convenient, it is very easy for consumers to come across illicit devices in convenience stores - which is why it’s so important to be clued up on the dangers. We have already debunked many vaping myths, but questions about the safety of vaping continue to arise.

If you're considering using a disposable vape device – or any other type of e-cigarette – it's important to educate yourself about the potential risks involved so you can make an informed decision about whether or not it's right for you. Read on to understand if you can consider disposable vapes to be safe.

How to make informed decisions about their use of disposable vapes

Educate yourself: Learn about the potential health risks associated with disposable vapes and understand what ingredients are in the product you are using.

Read reviews: Before purchasing a disposable vape, read reviews from other users to see if they have experienced any negative side effects.

Choose reputable brands: Stick to well-known brands that have a reputation for producing safe and high-quality products.

Consider alternatives: If you're trying to quit smoking or vaping, consider nicotine replacement therapies such as patches or gum.

Talk to your doctor: If you're concerned about your use of disposable vapes, talk to your doctor or a healthcare professional who can offer advice and support on how to quit or reduce your usage.

What are safe alternatives to disposable vapes?

For those who are looking for alternatives to disposable vapes but still want relief from smoking cravings or nicotine withdrawal symptoms, there are several options available. These include purchasing vape e-liquids that have lower nicotine quantities.

If you prefer vaping over other forms of smoking cessation support, buying a reusable device may be a safer option than disposable vapes. Reusable devices allow you to refill the e-liquid yourself, reducing the risk of exposure to harmful chemicals that may be present in pre-filled disposables. Read our rechargeable vs disposable vape guide here.

EDGE e-liquid

Are high-quality e-liquids safer?

Regardless of whether you choose disposable or reusable vaping devices, it's important to choose high-quality e-liquids that don't contain harmful chemicals like diacetyl or acrolein. Look for reputable brands that use high-quality ingredients and avoid purchasing cheap products from unknown sources.

High-quality e-liquids are formulated with precision and care to provide the best possible flavour and vapour production. Cheaper options often use lower-quality ingredients that can result in a harsh taste or weak vapour output. With high-quality liquids, you'll be able to enjoy a smooth vaping experience with rich flavours and thick clouds.

Buying high-quality e-liquids from the right brands doesn’t mean higher costs, and can actually end up saving you money in the long run. Low-quality liquids can burn through coils faster due to impurities or inconsistent viscosity, and mean that you need to replace coils more frequently. In contrast, higher-quality liquids typically help coils to last longer and require fewer replacements. If you are unsure what a coil is, visit our vaping glossary here.

How can I vape safely?

There are a number of habits you can adopt to ensure that you are vaping as safely as possible. Below are the most important ones to remember:

Proper charging

Always use the charger that came with your device and avoid charging it overnight or leaving it unattended. Overcharging can cause battery damage and potentially lead to explosions, so make sure you're monitoring the charging process carefully. Find out if you should be worried about fire risks if you vape indoors.

Be mindful of device temperature

Avoid exposing your device to extreme temperatures; do not leave it in a hot car, for example. Extreme temperatures can affect the battery life and potentially cause malfunctions.

Keep your device clean

Regularly clean your device to prevent the buildup of bacteria or other contaminants. Use alcohol wipes to clean the mouthpiece, tank, and other components regularly.

Vape in safe quantities

Vaping is not risk-free, so don't overdo it by taking long drags or using high-wattage settings regularly. Overuse can result in dry hits, which can harm the lungs and throat. Everyone has different limits and tolerances, so listen to your body.

Keep e-liquids away from children and pets

E-liquids often come in flavours that appeal to children, so make sure they are stored out of reach of pets and children. Ingesting e-liquid can be harmful to both animals and children - read our guide on vaping around pets here.

By following these tips, you can enjoy a safe and pleasurable vaping experience. Remember that vaping is not without risks, but with proper care and attention, you can minimise those risks while enjoying the benefits of this alternative to traditional smoking.

Likewise, if you are an active person, you should read about the consequences of vaping and working out. If you are active to the point that you are competing professionally, you should also know if vaping is allowed in professional sports.

woman using her vaping device

Finding safe alternatives to disposable vapes

To conclude, finding a safe way to vape is achieved by understanding the product you are using and its contents. In order to find a vape device and an e-liquid you can trust to be safe, you should only purchase from reputable manufacturers and sellers. This way, you give yourself the opportunity to explore various vaping experiences with the knowledge that you are consuming a safe product. Browse our range of e-liquids, each batch tested to the highest quality to guarantee the consumption of delicious flavours.