UK Vape Testing Reveals Shocking Findings

Illegal E-cigarettes on the Rise

UK Vape Testing Reveals Shocking Findings

The UK Trading Standards Authority, a law enforcement agency, has recently commissioned third-party laboratories to test illegal vapes on the market. Alarmingly, all tested products have not appeared on the legal product list published by the UK MHRA. In this article, we will dive into the details of these findings, explore the implications for consumers, and discuss the steps the UK government is taking to address this issue.

The Guardian’s Report on E-cigarette Testing

On April 16th, the UK’s Guardian reported that according to independent third-party laboratory Inter Scientific, some vape brands sold in stores in England and Wales were found to be violating legal regulations. A staggering 73% of e-cigarettes exceeded the legal capacity of 2ml, with over 40% of the tested products containing 5ml or more of e-liquid. Furthermore, eight supposedly nicotine-free e-cigarettes contained almost 20mg/ml of nicotine. We reached out to Inter Scientific Laboratory to learn more about the tested products.

Testing Funded by UK Law Enforcement Agencies

Inter Scientific is an ISO 17025 certified laboratory, accredited by the UK Accreditation Service. Its team of analysis and regulatory experts specializes in the testing and compliance of e-cigarette products.

Inter Scientific stated:

“Recently, we were hired by several Trading Standards Authorities (UK law enforcement agencies) to test e-cigarette products suspected of being illegally sold on the UK market or that had been withdrawn from sale.”

In the Guardian report, a total of 52 e-cigarette products were tested by Inter Scientific.

When asked for specific names, Inter Scientific declined to disclose the details but announced several participating brands, including popular disposable vape brands in the UK, such as ELUX, Dr. Gorilla King & R and M.

Inter Scientific continued, “These tests were funded by UK law enforcement agencies, who purchased suspicious illegal products from stores across the UK.” According to laboratory regulations, they cannot directly share customer data without explicit written consent.

Tested Products Not Found on MHRA’s Legal Product List

Inter Scientific said that the amount of nicotine was not the main issue. They detected a product with nicotine content far exceeding the UK limit of 20mg/mL, but this does not pose a direct health risk.

The key issue is that none of the tested products appeared on the UK MHRA’s legal product list. According to UK e-cigarette regulations, all nicotine-containing vape products must be registered with the MHRA before sale. The registration process allows for the review of the safety of e-cigarette ingredients and emissions.

Thus, these tested vape products have not been reviewed by regulatory authorities.

Inter Scientific expressed its concern about this finding,

“What is most worrying is that some products labeled as 0% nicotine were found to have 20mg/ml of nicotine (2%), which is the maximum amount allowed in the UK.”

They said that products marked as 0% nicotine are misleading to consumers and do not comply with the 2016 TRPR and CLP/REACH regulatory requirements.

UK Government Establishes “Illegal Vape Enforcement Task Force”

It is understood that the UK’s Public Health Minister, Neil O’Brien, has stated that a plan will be developed, with the government providing £3 million in funding for this crackdown. The newly established “Illegal Vape Enforcement Task Force” will share information and intelligence between regional networks and local governments.

The task force will carry out specific projects, such as test purchases at convenience stores and vape shops. In addition, the task force will develop guidelines to help establish a compliant regulatory system and will have the authority to seize illegal products in stores and at borders.

Related: New measures to crack down on illegal sale of e-cigarettes to teenagers


The UK Trading Standards Authority’s commissioning of vape testing has revealed alarming findings. With 73% of products exceeding the legal e-liquid capacity and many supposedly nicotine-free e-cigarettes containing high levels of nicotine, it is clear that urgent action is needed. The establishment of the “Illegal Vape Enforcement Task Force” is a positive step towards addressing this issue and ensuring that consumers are protected from potentially harmful and non-compliant products.


  1. What is the UK MHRA’s legal product list?
    The UK MHRA’s legal product list contains all nicotine-containing vape products that have been registered with the MHRA and have undergone a safety review of their ingredients and emissions.
  2. What are the consequences for retailers selling illegal vapes?
    Retailers caught selling illegal vapes may face fines, seizures of their products, and potential legal action from the UK government.
  3. Why is it important to regulate vape products?
    Regulating vape products ensures that consumers are protected from potentially harmful ingredients and that the products meet safety and quality standards.
  4. What is the role of the “Illegal Vape Enforcement Task Force”?
    The task force aims to share information and intelligence between regional networks and local governments, carry out test purchases at convenience stores and vape shops, develop guidelines for a compliant regulatory system, and seize illegal products in stores and at borders.
  5. What can consumers do to ensure they are purchasing legal vape products?
    Consumers should check the UK MHRA’s legal product list before purchasing vape products and only buy from reputable retailers who comply with UK regulations.