“What you after mate?” - Illegal, dangerous and sold in your corner shop
Illegal vapes which have triggered safety warnings are being openly sold in shops in the heart of Manchester city centre.
Existing laws set strict limits on how much nicotine and liquid a disposable vape can contain. But as a Manchester Evening News investigation found, vapes purporting to have much higher levels of liquid are available from busy newsagents - and in some cases being openly displayed.
The government has announced that it is planning to introduce a ban on the sale of disposable vapes in England, Scotland and Wales.
The measure, which is expected to come into force at the end of 2024 or the start of 2025, is designed to tackle the rise in young people vaping.
But existing laws are already being flouted. The M.E.N this week found vapes that are causing concern among police, local authorities and industry experts are easily available over the counter - in designs and flavours that could be attractive to underage people.
These vapes are illegal and unregulated while the number of puffs they promise is believed to be indicative of illegal nicotine levels.
Of the six vapes purchased by the M.E.N., four promised significantly higher amounts of nicotine than is permitted while n one met the legal requirements for labelling and health warnings, which indicate they were not made for the UK market.
“What you after mate?” the shopkeeper calls out as I peruse the rows of flavoured vapes inside Matadar News & Souvenirs in Manchester city centre.
I take my time before picking out a 'Mr Blue' ENE Legend 3500. The packaging on the vape says it contains 3,500 puffs - nearly six times the recommended industry standard of 600 puffs.
Despite trading standards officers at one council