Underage Vape Sales and Illegal Manufacturing in the UK

In recent years, the popularity of vaping has skyrocketed among young people as an alternative to traditional smoking. However, there has been an alarming issue of underage vape sales and illegal manufacturing in the UK with significant concerns regarding the accessibility of vaping products to underage individuals.

In this blog, we delve into the alarming issue of underage vape sales and the illegal production of vaping devices, shedding light on the associated facts and statistics.

Underage Vape Sales

The Prevalence of Underage Vaping

A study conducted by Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) in 2020 revealed that approximately 11% of 11 to 18-year-olds in the UK had tried vaping. Furthermore, the study found that 5% of those aged 11 to 18 were current vapers, meaning they had used a vaping device within the last month.

Availability of Vaping Products

The availability of vaping products to underage individuals has become a significant concern. Research suggests that young people primarily obtain vaping devices through the following means:

  1. Physical Retailers – Despite legal restrictions, some brick-and-mortar stores may fail to adequately enforce age verification measures, allowing underage individuals to purchase vaping products.
  2. Online Marketplaces – Online platforms have become popular avenues for accessing vaping products. Although age verification checks are required, loopholes and inadequate enforcement contribute to the sale of vapes to minors.
  3. Peer-to-Peer Sales – The exchange of vaping devices among peers has also been observed, where underage individuals acquire products from friends or acquaintances.

Illegal Manufacturing of Vaping Devices

Counterfeit and Unregulated Products

The illegal manufacturing of vaping devices is a growing concern in the UK. Counterfeit and unregulated products flood the market, raising serious health and safety issues. Such devices often fail to meet quality and safety standards, posing potential hazards to consumers.

Manufacturing Facilities and Supply Chains

Illegal vape manufacturing operations often take place in unlicensed facilities, making it difficult for authorities to track and regulate production. These clandestine operations may involve the use of substandard materials and non-compliant manufacturing processes, further compromising the safety and quality of the vaping devices.

Government Regulations and Initiatives

Age Verification Laws

The UK government has implemented strict regulations regarding the sale of vaping products to individuals under the legal age. It is illegal to sell e-cigarettes, e-liquids, and other vaping products to individuals under the age of 18. However, these laws face challenges when it comes to enforcement, both in physical stores and online platforms.

Tackling Illegal Manufacturing

To address the issue of illegal vape production, the government is working in collaboration with law enforcement agencies to identify and dismantle illicit manufacturing facilities. Efforts are being made to disrupt supply chains and prosecute those involved in the illegal production and distribution of vaping devices.

Education and Awareness

Educating young people about the potential risks and health consequences of vaping is vital in curbing underage usage. Schools, parents, and healthcare professionals play a crucial role in providing accurate information and raising awareness about the dangers associated with vaping, helping young individuals make informed decisions.

Final Thoughts

The concerning issue of underage vape sales and illegal manufacturing in the UK demands immediate attention and action. Stronger enforcement of age verification measures, increased regulation and oversight of retail outlets and collaborative efforts between government agencies and law enforcement are necessary steps in combating this problem.

Simultaneously, education and awareness campaigns must continue to empower young people with the knowledge to make healthy choices regarding vaping and promote a smoke-free generation. By addressing the availability of vaping products to minors and cracking down on illegal manufacturing, we can safeguard the well-being of individuals.


Jacques ShepherdSenior Recruitment Consultant (Residential Division Lead)

Nick Cheung ~ Lead Marketing Executive

Buckingham Futures HQ

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