5 Facts You Need to Know About Vaping in the UK

The truth about vaping, e-liquids and nicotine

Google the word “vape” or “vaping” on any day of the week and the chances are you’ll see a long list of shouty tabloid headlines gleefully sharing the details of the latest set of problems, from police seizures of illegal e-liquids to sad stories about youngsters falling ill as a result of using them. 

You’d be forgiven for believing that the vaping industry is struggling on all fronts – especially with regards to its reputation – but this couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact vaping and e-cigarettes is gaining in legitimacy in the UK for several reasons. So before you assume vaping is just as bad for your health as smoking (which is one of the worst things you can do to your body, by the way), read these five key facts. Then make up your own mind. 

FACT #1: The UK has one of the most highly regulated vaping markets in the world

Thanks to the TPD (Tobacco Products Directive). This is a set of guidelines that apply across the EU as well as the UK and compel the manufacturers and retailers of e-cigarettes to put protections in place to make sure that any adult who wants to vape can do so safely.

These guidelines set minimum standards for safety and quality of e-cigarette and refill containers and includes rules to stop under 18s using them. They also cover the sales, marketing, manufacture, packaging, labelling of vaping devices and e-liquids. For example, any e-liquids that contain nicotine must include a warning label on the packaging, and the MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency) must be notified of any new products 6 months before they go on sale to the public. These rules and regulations make the UK one of the safest places to vape in the world.

FACT #2: Levels of nicotine in UK-made e-liquids are strictly capped

The same guidelines mentioned in #1 above also regulate the amount of nicotine you can get in e-liquids purchased in the UK plus they restrict e-cigarette tanks to a capacity of no more than 2ml. The maximum volume of nicotine-containing e-liquid for sale in one refill container must be no more than 10ml and nicotine strengths can be no more than 20mg of nicotine per ml.

It’s the fact that you can vape nicotine at all that’s at the root cause of many of the misconceptions around e-cigarettes. Yes nicotine is addictive – which makes vaping a great way to wean yourself off cigarettes. But most of the harm to your health from smoking are not caused by nicotine, that’s all down to the thousands of other toxic chemicals present in the average ciggie. And once you’ve made a successful transition to vaping you can always switch to nicotine-free e-liquids and carry on vaping for the sheer pleasure of it. 

FACT #3: Vaping is officially better for your health than smoking

Few things are as dangerous to your health as smoking a traditional combustible cigarette. Cigarettes are the primary cause of death in two out of three long-term users, yet in 2019 there were just 60 deaths worldwide from vaping (almost exclusively in the US where the market is much less regulated) versus 8 million deaths from smoking in the same period. Plus to date there has not been one single recorded death from “second hand vaping” as far as we know.    

Public Health England repeatedly endorses vaping as the most effective aid to quit smoking, and the NHS are actively planning to offer e-cigarettes on prescription. Cancer Research UK also weighs in stating that e-cigarettes are a much safer alternative to tobacco, and the British Heart Foundation says that switching to e-cigarettes is far less harmful to your heart than continuing to smoke. We’re hard pressed to find any reasons why switching from smoking to vaping can be anything but a good thing. 

FACT #4: Switching to vaping can save you hundreds of £££s per year

There are still some that say that the cost of a 20-a-day habit will never be enough of an incentive to quit smoking. But have you calculated the true cost of your smoking? Unless you’ve been living under a rock lately, you’ll be aware that the cost of living is shooting skywards, so cutting costs is a priority for many of us. If you’re a 20-a-day smoker, you’re probably spending around £3,800 a year on your habit. Compare that to the equivalent cost of vape kits and e-liquids over the course of a year of around £600-£700 and, well, you can do the sums for yourself.

Then there’s the indirect cost savings on things like dental treatments, products to mask the smell of tobacco, and cheaper life insurance premiums. That’s not to mention the increase in life expectancy for yourself and those around you (who are consuming your second hand smoke). It all starts to add up. So the only question you need to ask yourself is this: Can you afford NOT to switch to vaping?

FACT #5: Vaping doesn’t come under the UK Government’s 2007 Smoking Ban

Currently, there are no legal restrictions on vaping in public areas, but there are local laws in force that prohibit vaping. Many public places and private establishments have applied customised rules so it doesn’t mean you can vape anywhere you like, including on buses and trains, in pubs and bars, in airports and airplanes. In fact, anywhere you see a “No Smoking” sign it’s a safe bet that vaping won’t be allowed either. And If you violate anyone’s vaping rules then you will be ejected from the building at best, and possibly also prosecuted.

You may think that vaping in your own car is fine, but even then you could end up with up to nine penalty points and a fine of £2,500. Because it isn’t the act of vaping that will get you into trouble but the repercussions of it. If you vape when you drive and your car is full of vapour you will be pulled over for driving without due care and attention. 

Vaping is becoming mainstream with around 3.3m people in the UK now using e-cigarettes regularly. The e-cigarette industry is worth around £3 billion to the economy and expected to grow by 3% every year, making it one of the most rapidly growing segments, so it’s hardly a passing fad any more. 

If you have any questions about vaping or any of our products, please get in touch.

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