VPZ, Wheeler Gate

A Nottingham vape shop has reported an increase in under 18s trying to buy disposable vapes.

Jordon Peach who works at VPZ on Wheeler Gate explained he is seeing more minors coming in and trying to buy disposable vapes like Geek and Elf bars. He said teens as young as 13 had been trying their luck at buying vapes.

He added: “People get into vaping because they think it’s fashionable and then they  are addicted to the nicotine.

“We get young kids coming into trying to buy vapes. We’re speaking about 13/14-year-olds.”

“you get flavour names like gummy bears”

john waldron, Action on smoking and health

Disposable vapes cost users on average £6 per bar for around 600 puffs. Each of these bars contain 20 milligrams of nicotine which is the equivalent to 50 cigarettes.

The devices are also thought to cause gum disease, tooth decay and bad breath.

Disposable vapes have been circling social media platform TikTok, with many of its audience being under 18. This seems to explain the increasing numbers of minors using and being sold vapes.

Audio: Jordon Peach from VPZ talks about the increase in minors trying to buy vapes.

Trading standards officers for Lancashire County Council carried out test purchasing operations and found volunteers aged 14-16 were sold vape bars from 11 of the 29 shops tested.

Under UK law you must be over 18 to buy and use any vaping-related products including e-liquid and e-cigarettes.

Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) is a public health charity that works to eliminate the harm caused by tobacco and was established in 1971.

Senior policy and public affairs officer John Waldron said the marketing and branding of these disposable vapes lacks regulation.

He added that branding and design were aimed more at young people and the government should look into it.

He said: “You get flavour names like gummy bears and little cartoon characters and that is something I think is potentially problematic.”

Action on Smoking and Health (ASH)

Cigarette and tobacco packaging is covered in warnings and is very plain to discourage and reduce their attractiveness.

This is not always the case for these vapes, with the outer casing of the product being brightly coloured and the packaging being sleek with flavour names that match the “aesthetic”.

In 2020, Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Witty told the Daily Mail: “If e-cigarettes are increasing in children then we should assume that they are being marketed towards them or at least pushed on them in some way, and deal with that very, very strongly.”

For more information on how to quit smoking/vaping, or to reach out for support, download the free NHS Quit Smoking app or contact the British Lung Foundation’s helpline.