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Checklist to spot illicit vapes

April 19, 2023


Broughton, a scientific organisation that conducts vape compliance testing, has used its experience to produce a checklist, How to spot an illicit vape.

The checklist, which can be downloaded in poster format so that it can be used by distributers, retailers and even the public, highlights six easy to spot signs on a product’s packaging that an e-cigarette might not be legal under UK regulations.

A shop owner or consumer can assess the product’s packaging and, if it doesn’t tick one of the boxes, there’s a risk the vape is illicit, the firm noted.

The tool follows the recent announcement of a ‘vapes enforcement squad’ backed by £3 million of government funding to tackle illicit vapes and underage sales.

“The UK has implemented a ‘light touch’ system for the notification of vaping products so far, and we’re seeing an unprecedented number of illicit products being seized by trading standards,” said Chris Allen, Broughton chief executive.

“This is only the tip of the iceberg. Regulators need to act quickly, so that illicit products are identified and removed from shelves. There also needs to be clearer guidance on ensuring vapes have been tested adequately, with Certificates of Analysis available to distributors or retailers, and larger fines for those breaking the rules.”

“In the meantime, consumers and retailers need to look out for the red flags that indicate a product might be illicit. There are a lot of rules on how vapes are packaged, which consumers can use to check if something doesn’t look right.”

John Dunne, Director General for the UK Vaping Industry Association (UKVIA) added: “As an organisation, we’re committed to raising awareness and educating smokers, so that they can feel empowered to leave smoking behind. The hope is that through better education we can remove non-compliant products faster and ultimately improve health outcomes for people in the UK.”

The checklist has been released as part of Broughton’s contribution to VApril, a smoker education and awareness campaign created and delivered by UKVIA. The initiative, now in its sixth year, provides a range of advice and resources aimed at giving smokers the best chance to wave goodbye to cigarettes for good.