You’re definitely aware of the disposable vaping trend flooding the UK and around the world. Especially if you’ve spent time scrolling through social media or have been strolling down your local streets. The colourful packaging, portable design, and fruity flavours are proving to be extremely popular among young people and are easily available at most local corner shops and petrol stations. More youngsters than ever are admitting to being addicted to them. So is underage vaping becoming a concern?
The UK government has toughened laws surrounding the sale of e-cigarettes in reaction to the increasing ‘vaping pandemic’ in the United States, where one in every four teenagers admits to using an e-cigarette on a frequent basis. Despite the fact that devices containing more than 2% nicotine are now banned, many stores and shops continue to keep illegal vape items, putting them in the hands of the younger population.
This seemingly harmless obsession is rapidly becoming a reason for concern, as more and more teenagers take to social media to highlight the terrible side effects of these unregulated devices. Because the long-term effects of chemicals used in unregulated products are largely unknown, nosebleeds and headaches could be just the beginning especially for those that are underage.
Effects of vaping if you are underage?
If you’re under the age of 18, you can’t legally buy vaping equipment in the UK, including liquids, disposables and devices. While the underage boy or girl purchasing the products face no legal consequences, even though they are technically breaching the law, as is the individual who sold them the product. If an individual is caught selling vape products to someone under the age of 18, they may be fined £2,500 and their licence could be revoked.
If you start using vapes when you’re below the legal age, you risk becoming addicted, which has its own set of effects. And, because nicotine is one of the most addictive substances till this day, it’ll only be a matter of time before your “one-off” vaping habit turns into a regular occurrence.
Even if you appear and feel like an adult at the age of 16 or 17, your brain is still developing up until you reach the age of 25, making it very susceptible to chemicals. You’re significantly more prone to nicotine addiction and the negative consequences that come with it till then. Your attention span might be harmed by addiction, making it harder to stay focused. When given a question or trying to study for a test, you can find yourself distracted in class or feeling what we call ‘brain fog’ where thinking and memory becomes cloudy rather than clear, it can also cause short term memory loss, reduced or slow thinking and inhibited decision making. Therefore the topic of underage vaping should not be taken lightly.
Is underage vaping being encouraged by disposables?
Young people are particularly drawn to disposable vapes. The devices’ simplicity makes them simple to operate and quite easy to keep hidden away from teachers and parents. It’s simple to see why underage boys and girls are drawn to them because of their bright, colourful branding and a variety of appealing flavours like blueberry raspberry and cherry cola.
When they grab for a disposable vape, many young people are just unaware of what they’re putting into their bodies. Even moderate smokers are exposing themselves to high nicotine levels.
While a single Nasty Fix disposable or other known disposables provide approximately 675 puffs, which is roughly the equal to around 40 cigarettes, most users will stretch their use out over several days. While this is beneficial to ex-smokers and those who are trying to quit smoking, it is not really beneficial for teenagers under 18 who have never smoked cigarettes.
Individuals who have previously smoked and thus have a tolerance for nicotine and an understanding of their own limit should use disposable vapes. But, when a teenager first uses a disposable vape, they are exposing themselves to a high number of addictive compounds in a short period of time, something they are not used to. You can understand how serious this is, given the abundance of unregulated disposables available on the market.
Apart from the negative effects on health such as the addiction and nicotine exposure for underage teens, there is another factor to why underage teens are picking up a disposable on a regular basis. This is the cheap price tag, a disposable can be picked up for as little as £3.
How can you be safe?
With everything above being mentioned now, how can you and I stay safe? The first way in which you can stay safe is not to buy a vape or disposable if you are not the legal age required in your specific country, in most countries this is 18 & 21. It’s also vital to understand that disposable vapes and mods are not toys, or fashion accessories and you shouldn’t just vape because it looks ‘cool’, they’re simply aids to get people to stop smoking. If you do end up purchasing disposables and you are of legal age, ensure you’re getting it from an authorised and reputable seller/retailer. Even so, this is not enough now days as the number of unregulated products and disposables on display at shops is at an all-time high.
It is key to thoroughly check the labelling on the disposable to see if they’re UK legal, containing 2% (20mg of nicotine per ml of liquid) or less. If the disposable doesn’t show the level of nicotine, it is not advised to vape it, as there’s a high chance the product is unregulated. With this information we hope you can keep safe when choosing your next disposable.
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