A NUMBER of Scottish councils are tackling a worrying trend of "unsafe and illegal" vape pens circulating in schools.

Council officials in Glasgow, Renfrewshire, Aberdeen and North Lanarkshire have all issued warnings over the products - with the latter suggesting some children have "coughed up blood" after using them.

They say the vape pen is often designed to look like a school highlighter and in bright packaging "to appeal to young people". 

The alarm was initially raised after a parent complained to the council.

North Lanarkshire Council's Protective Services Manager, Paul Bannister said: “Disposable vapes are sold in bright packaging designed to appeal to young people in flavours like strawberry and bubble gum, for as little as five pounds.

“They contain very high levels of nicotine, and we have anecdotal evidence that young people using them have coughed up blood, experienced nose bleeds and nausea.”

 

 

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A large number of the same illegal vape pens valued at about £900 were seized by Aberdeen City Council Trading Standards officers last week amid concerns of more underage children having access to them.

Similar to in North Lanarkshire, the vape pens were designed in a colourful way and in alternative shapes in an attempt to target young customers.

They included flavours like fruit, mint, cotton candy, and are given designs that look like highlighters and make-up pens to allow them to be used in a discreet manner.

Graeme Paton of Aberdeen City Council Trading Standards said: 'It was unacceptable that vapers are unknowingly risking their health by using these unsafe disposable products.

“Illegal and counterfeit products are flooding into the market and consequently pose a potential health risk to customers. Inappropriately branded products are also being purposely marketed towards children.

“Parents may not realise their children are vaping these unsafe devices - they are brightly coloured and closely resemble highlighter pens or make-up products. They cost from £5 to £7 each.”

After the confiscation of the vape pens in Aberdeen, North Lanarkshire council were consulted as they had dealt with the same ordeal last month, and they are continuing to discover the counterfeit product in stores across the area.

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A spokesperson for North Lanarkshire council said: “We were contacted on Monday about vapes seized in Aberdeen as we had a similar situation last month.

“Since then, 150 vapes suspected to be counterfeit, were seized from a store in Cumbernauld.

"Our officers continue to react to complaints from the public and they will proactively be making visits to retailers next month to advise shop owners again of these products and their responsibilities when selling vapour products.”

By legal standards it is understood that a typical disposable vape includes 2ml of liquid, which is usually capable of 600 puffs of the product.

The counterfeit products which were discovered by Trading Standards in North Lanarkshire and Aberdeen contained enough liquid for 1500 puffs.

Scottish Government guidelines for e-cigarettes also state that they must be child resistant.

Now, both Renfrewshire Council and Glasgow City Council have also confirmed that their Trading Standards teams are aware of the cases and investigating similar issues in their respective areas.

A spokesperson in Glasgow said: “Our Trading Standards officers are aware of a national issue regarding vaping products.

"In Glasgow, Trading Standards have been visiting wholesale suppliers and where these products, which are not MHRA notified (Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency), have been found officers have had them withdrawn from sale rather than seized.

"Appropriate advice is also given and the wholesalers are advised they can’t sell or distribute the products. Given the cooperation of the wholesalers, our Trading Standards officers have had the products withdrawn from sale rather than seized numbers."

Now that council areas in Scotland continue to monitor the situation in an attempt to stop them reaching the possession of school children, further investigations have commenced to find out the source of the counterfeit e-cigarette.

Mr Bannister, in North Lanarkshire, added: “We will be writing to retailers with guidance on these products and advising them to return any stock that does not comply with the legal requirements.

“We will continue to monitor sales of nicotine vapour products and will not hesitate to take enforcement action against any retailer who continues to stock these potentially harmful products.”

Aberdeen City Council have also issued further warnings by reminding the public that anyone caught buying an alternative smoking product for underage children will face an on-the-spot fixed penalty of £200.