Residents warned of illegal vapes being targeted at young people

Published: Thursday 28 July 2022

Around 3,000 illegal vapes have been seized in Kensington and Chelsea, worth approximately £24,000. Retailers are using food brand names such as Fanta or Skittles to encourage young people to buy vapes. 

The illegal vapes are being sold throughout the borough, but most products have been seized from premises in the Portobello and Earls Court areas. Additionally, warning letters have been issued to six traders. 

The cause of the issue is believed to stem from US law that prohibits high volume and high strength vapes meaning they can longer be sold to the US market. Many of the products confiscated carry the US health warning and are being smuggled into the UK.

Some vapes can leak with the risk of exposure to liquid nicotine which is poisonous and could cause serious harm or possibly death.

Lead member for Local Economy & Employment Cllr Josh Rendall said: 
 
“These vapes are being designed and marketed to purposefully mislead people. They have no place in our borough. I am particularly worried about these products being sold to young people.
 
“Our trading standards team will continue to work hard to protect people from products that are non-compliant or misleading.”

Top tips to be aware of: 

  • Genuine products will have the following health warning 'This product contains nicotine which is a highly addictive substance' covering 30 per cent of the front and back of the packet.
  • Vapes should have a maximum tank size of 2ml. A vape pen should provide no more than 600-800 puffs. The highest nicotine strength for vapes is 2 per cent. The nicotine liquid should not contain any additives or any ingredients such as caffeine or taurine.  
  • Retailers should note selling e-cigarettes or vapes to anyone under 18 is illegal in the UK, and every vaping product sold containing nicotine must be registered by the medicines and healthcare products regulator, the MHRA.
  • Vaping can help some people quit smoking. Although it is less harmful than smoking it is not harmless. Vaping is not for non-smokers. The best thing you can do for your health is to be smokefree and vape free.

If you would like to report anything such as a business or a product, contact our trading standards team at: trading.standards@rbkc.gov.uk