There’s no denying just how popular disposable vapes have become in the last year. The compact, lightweight and generally fuss-free devices have gone from a drop in the ocean to a legitimate tsunami in the vaping industry, with retailers scrambling just to keep up with demand.
Despite this popularity though the question of disposable vape safety has been raised repeatedly. While the vaping industry in general has been the subject of scrutiny for different reasons over the years, the disposables craze has brought its own share of issues which many UK consumers have found cause for concern.
The issue has arisen from illegally imported examples finding their way onto UK shelves and into the hands of unwitting vapers – many of whom are in younger demographics owing to the disposable vapes convenience for nights out. In response to this, Trading standards officers across the country have been conducting raids, with a number of major wholesalers supplying convenience retail in Glasgow hit before Christmas 2021, and most recently in Sussex where the devices were rooted out in local corner shops.
The reason they are illegal is because they haven’t been registered for sale with the MHRA – something that all vaping devices and e-liquids in the UK must adhere to. Because they have not undergone this process, the devices in question are being found to exceed the e-liquid capacity limit of 2ml, and have also been found to contain 50mg/ml of nicotine strength e-liquid, 30mg above the legal limit of 20mg. Beyond this the devices’ packaging does not carry the warnings and information required by law to help keep you safe.
With that said, there are of course plenty of fully approved and compliant examples of disposable vaping products available, the tricky part can be in determining which is which! Just remember to keep an eye on the packaging and the strength – if it’s anything above 20mg, or if it doesn’t have the usual warnings, it’s likely a dodgy example and should be avoided and brought to the retailer’s attention, as unfortunately many don’t even know that what they carry is illegal.
Should I use a disposable vape, or a rechargeable one?
With concerns of whether disposable vapes are safe swirling, you might be wondering if it’s best to just steer clear of the fad and stick to a more traditional vaping device. Before you jump to any conclusions it’s best to get your head around the facts – we’ve already taken a deep-dive into disposables in our blog, Disposable Vapes – What You Need to Know.
Of course, the choice is yours, but to try and help you work out what’s best we’ll run through some of the ups and downs of disposables and how they compare to more traditional vaping fayre.
Disposable Vapes and the Environment
We’re passionate about the environment here at LiQuid, it’s right there in our Corporate Social Responsibility Policy. That’s why we can’t ignore one of the biggest issues with disposable vapes – they are pretty terrible for the environment. You can find out more about this in detail in our blog above, but the short version is their entirely non-biodegradable or recyclable materials, coupled with the massive numbers they sell in, and their throwaway nature sets the stage for a potential environmental crisis.
Recycling and vaping has always shared a fractious relationship, and we ourselves at LiQuid have had many challenges in trying to overcome our own environmental issues to operate more greenly. 10ml, or indeed any e-liquid bottle for example cannot be recycled at home despite what some might think – this is because the material has come into contact with nicotine. It is also illegal to wash out e-liquid residue down your home sink and then recycle the bottles, so in terms of comparison, disposables and traditional vapes share some issues.
Where traditional vapes beat-out disposables in sustainability terms, is the fact that they are designed to be kept and used for far longer, with the exception of changing the odd coil. This means fewer are regularly purchased, so less are produced, and all the waste that goes along with those processes is greatly reduced in the long-term.
In some circumstances certain parts of traditional devices can be more easily recycled than disposables also; by being able to separate the battery and tank/pod sections for example - these can be more safely disposed of in ways that protect the environment, rather than it all being lumped in a landfill which is the fate of almost every disposable.
As an added advantage, while not recyclable at home, responsible manufacturers can switch to recycled materials for their e-liquid bottles – ours our 100% recycled PCR PET. While we know that doesn’t solve the problem entirely, it at least means we don’t rely on new plastic being made for all those little bottles just to end up in a landfill forever.
Disposable Vape Nic Salt Flavours
Part of the appeal of disposable vapes has been the massive range of flavours offered by almost all of the biggest brands. We must admit, they are very flavoursome, and are loaded with sweetener and extra flavouring to achieve it. While that would normally be bad news for your devices coil, because they are going to be thrown out after a day or two this downside isn’t really noticed by many.
To add to the intense flavour they offer, disposable vapes utilise nic salt e-liquids. You can find out more about them in our blog, but in short this specially modified nicotine absorbs into your body faster, hitting your cravings faster and keeping them at bay for longer. Not to mention they deliver high-strength nicotine (typically 10 or 20mg only) but with a super-smooth throat hit that makes them an ideal e-liquid for new vapers who have recently left cigarettes behind.
With that said however, 20mg can be far more nicotine than a person needs unless they were a particularly heavy smoker - this means people could end up overdoing it without realising thanks to the smooth and fruity flavours, unaware they are consuming more nicotine than ever before, effectively deepening their addiction, albeit though a less harmful medium. If you are using vaping as part of a quitting journey, you might find disposables counter-productive!
While it’s great that disposables feature nic salt juice, you don’t need to buy them to get it. Loads of brands offer nic salt ranges nowadays, including our own LiQuid nic salt collection! The bonus is our e-liquids have been made with your total safety and satisfaction in mind, so you can enjoy great flavours without worrying about excessive sweeteners.
Are Disposable Vapes Convenient?
This is definitely an area where disposables shine – it’s very hard to beat the convenience they offer. You can get them almost everywhere, and they require zero maintenance – just pull the tabs out, puff away and throw away. With topping-up and cleaning tanks, and changing coils on the list of regular maintenance for more traditional e-cigs, they are generally more involved to use.
With that said however you can get pretty close to the convenience of a disposable while still having a device you can keep and reuse. Pod systems are a great example of this as they are super compact and lightweight and typically require you to only replace the pod section, like the LiQuid Air, while retaining the battery, which takes some pressure of the environment too! Of course there are more complex devices you could choose which will require more effort to upkeep, however simplicity is still an option without breaking the bank – just have a look at our vaping device collection and see what the best brands can offer for yourself.
Are Disposable Vapes Economical?
This really depends on your personal vaping habits – if you are a very light user, you might find you get considerable use out of a disposable, however many people who vape regularly have reported that the devices will typically only last a day or two. At six or seven pounds a pop, that adds up pretty fast, especially when you are only getting 2ml of e-liquid for that money.
While yes, purchasing a proper vape kit designed to have longevity will almost always cost more initially, the long-term impact is quite different. As a regular vaper you could find yourself getting through a £7 disposable every two days – in a week that means you’ve spent £21 on 6ml of e-liquid – when you could have had 210ml of e-liquid if you got it from our 10ml e-liquid range for the same price. In reality you may spend £20-£50 on a starter kit but, after the fact, a pack of coils for a fiver each month and £1 per e-liquid bottle leaves you with a significantly smaller bill than maintaining a disposable vaping habit long-term.
Rechargeable Disposable Vapes
Now we’ve compared disposable and rechargeable vapes, it’s worth noting that manufacturers have already tried to bridge the gap. Some brands have now emerged offering vapers disposable devices that can actually be recharged. While that may seem a little pointless, it does prove that the issues being pointed out about the trending vapes are being heard.
The decision to introduce rechargeable disposables is most likely a response to the complaints of may users that the battery dies before they are able to consume all the liquid inside – making them even less economical than we have already explained! It can also be speculated that the inclusion of a charging port demonstrates that manufacturers are trying to reduce the environmental impact the devices have. It is more likely however, that they are primarily trying to instil a feeling of improved economy for vapers buying the devices.
The Choice is Yours!
Whether you choose a disposable vape, a rechargeable vape, or even a disposable rechargeable vape (yes, we know it’s becoming a mouthful!) the most important thing is to ensure you make a decision that best suits not only your needs as a vaper, but also your morals as a person. There are pros and cons to every approach, and we hope that looking at some of them side-by-side will help you to make the right choice.
Keep the above points in mind – disposables can be a brilliantly handy tool when you’re out and about and get caught short by cravings, but turning that into a regular habit can be very costly compared to traditional vaping. If you’re an ecologically minded person too, you might want to steer clear, or at least keep your use of disposables to a minimum.