According to the Guardian, the Guardian newspaper synthesized public information from 125 local authorities in the UK and found that since the beginning of 2020, the UK trading standards department has seized millions of illegal e-cigarettes.
In the past three years, trading standards departments around the country have seized more than 2.5 million illegal e-cigarettes. In Hillingdon, near Heathrow Airport (a key port of entry for the illegal trade), law enforcement officials have seized more than 1.35 million e-cigarettes alone.
These illegal e-cigarettes do not comply with the UK’s e-cigarette regulatory laws and may have higher nicotine concentrations, banned ingredients, or over-capacity vape oils. The laboratory study also found that illegal e-cigarettes may contain high levels of heavy metal content.
Kate Pike, director of the Chartered Institute of Trading Standards, said these figures are just the “tip of the iceberg.
“There are a lot of illegal products on the market that young people have access to, and we don’t want children or adults to become addicted to these products.”
Earlier this month, NHS leaders were concerned about the number of children being admitted to hospital for treatment for e-cigarette use.
The NHS said that 40 children and young people in England will be admitted to hospital in 2022 for “e-cigarette-related illnesses,” compared to 11 two years ago.
Pediatricians also warned that “e-cigarette use among young people is fast becoming an epidemic among children” and called on the government to ban disposable e-cigarettes.
A spokeswoman for the U.K. Department of Health and Social Care told The Guardian:
“The sale of nicotine e-cigarettes to children is illegal and we are concerned about the growth in e-cigarette use among young people, not least because the potential long-term harm is not yet clear.”