Supermarkets have stripped a vape device from their stores after it was found to be at least 50 per cent over the legal nicotine limit.
Vape supplier Elf Bar is already pulling its 600 line, which is the best-seller in the UK, from the shelves after a Mail investigation found that it was more than 50 per cent over the legal nicotine limit.
The 2ml limit on two per cent nicotine liquid in vapes, which was introduced to ‘create an environment that protects children from starting to use these products’, has been exceeded by another of Elf Bar’s products, the Lost Mary vape, which accounts for one in four vapes sold in the UK.
Tests revealed the device was up to 80 per cent over the nicotine maximum, which Andrew Bush, professor of paediatrics at Imperial College London, described as ‘appalling’ and said it was ‘deeply disturbing’ that users didn’t know what they were taking as the product is stripped from shelves in the supermarkets.
England’s chief medical officer, Sir Chris Whitty, recently called for a clampdown on the ‘appalling’ marketing of vapes to children and specifically called out Elf Bar, whose 600 and Lost Mary vapes account for eight in ten disposable vapes sold in the UK.
Vape supplier Elf Bar is already pulling its 600 line, which is the best-seller in the UK, from the shelves after a Mail investigation found that it was more than 50 per cent over the legal nicotine limit and now its Lost Mary line (pictured) has been found to exceed to nicotine maximum by up to 80 per cent
Anti-smoking group Ash found last year that more than half of the 11 to 17-year-olds who admitted trying vaping said they used an Elf Bar, which are around 100,000 young people, despite the sale of vapes being illegal to under 18-year-olds.
Elf Bar’s 600 range was pulled from supermarket shelves last month after the Mail investigation revealed that the device had up to 3.2ml of nicotine liquid.
After an intervention by the UK’s medical watchdog, Elf Bar admitted it had ‘fallen short in some areas’ and agreed to withdraw all 600 vapes that weren’t complying with the nicotine limit.
Now further tests on five samples of a Double Apple flavour Lost Mary bought from a Sainsbury’s found them to have an average of 3.6ml of nicotine liquid, while five Watermelon Ice flavoured Lost Marys vapes bought in Asda were found to have an average of 3.2ml.
Sainsbury’s and Asda have confirmed that they were stripping the Lost Mary vapes after the Mail alerted them to the results.
While vape manufacturers must registers details of their products like the nicotine liquid level to the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) before they can be sold in the UK, the MHRA doesn’t carry out any tests of the vapes during this product registration.
The MHRA only act if they are alerted that a product is breaking the law, for example by including nicotine liquid that exceeds the regulatory limit.
Professor Bush told Mail+: ‘This is absolutely shocking. What does it say about our system of regulation when it takes a newspaper to expose major breaches of the law like this?
‘We urgently need to introduce compliance checks when manufacturers register vapes and further spot checks once they go on sale to ensure companies follow the law.
‘It’s deeply worrying that people are buying these vapes without knowing what is in them. These laws are there to protect users, especially children.’
Chris Allen, the chief executive of the Broughton lab which conducted the tests, said that the regulators would need to get on top of this quickly and that he would like to see strong actionby the regulators, like removal of the limit-exceeding products, complete testing of products and destruction of non-compliant products.
Elf Bar was approached by Mail+ for comment about the Lost Mary tests, but did not respond.
The company previously said that its products are safe and that it would investigate all vape product exports to the UK.