People in North East Lincolnshire are being urged to stop buying and selling illegal vapes.
The warning comes after Trading Standards Officers sent half a tonne of illegal vapes for recycling at an approved waste facility.
The products were seized as part of Operation Joseph, a national initiative to deal with the illegal vape market. A total of 3724 vapes were sent for recycling with 8300 seized from local businesses in the last 18 months. The over 3000 vapes had a street value of £41,000.
Councillor Ron Shepherd, portfolio holder for safer and stronger communities, said: “People who buy illicit vapes are probably not aware of the consequences of their actions. The money you hand over ultimately ends up in the pockets of criminals.
“These illegal products are being sold on the cheap and marked to attract children, therefore contributing to young people becoming addicted to nicotine.
“These products do not meet safety standards and are now known to have an impact on the health of children. It is well known that they cause damage to the environment with millions being recklessly discarded every year.
“There are many examples nationally of these illegal devices spontaneously combusting, with two examples reported to Trading Standards in Grimsby in the last twelve months.
“When you buy these products, you could be putting your own health at risk. Not only has no duty been paid on them but they’ve not been tested to ensure they’re safe.”
By law, Vapes should have an internal tank capacity of no more than 2ml, and the level of nicotine contained in the vaping fluid should not exceed 20mg/ml (or 2 per cent).
As with tobacco products, these items are required to display certain health warnings and every such device, and the liquid it contains, should be registered with the MHRA (Medicines and Health care products Regulatory Agency) prior to being released onto the market.
He added: “It is important that people know what to look for on the packaging of these devices. Genuine, legal devices can be easily recognised as they must display a warning across one third of both the front and back of the packaging stating “This product contains nicotine which is a highly addictive substance
“It is important to remember that whilst legitimate disposable vaping bars can be a very useful aid to smokers who are wanting to quit, they still have potential health issues as a result of use, and should never be purchased and used by non-smokers”.