It stands to reason that if you buy your vaping supplies from the black-market, you can’t be sure what you’re getting. So, why go there?

Perhaps one reason people still turn to the black-market for vaping supplies, is they believe the UK vaping market isn’t regulated. Public Health England reported that a staggering 1 in 4 smokers believed vaping wasn’t regulated in the UK.

Making your own, or buying from your local black-market dealer, is a risky game. Just take a moment to reflect on the 55 deaths and 2,700+ reported incidents related to vaping in the USA. The Centers for Disease Control in America has yet to nail down the specific element in the e-liquids people were vaping, but in almost every case the patient had traces of THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) and Vitamin E Acetate in their samples. THC is the compound found in marijuana that causes a person to get ‘high’ and Vitamin E Acetate can be used to help make THC oil go further. Both are banned in the UK.

The consequences of vaping e-liquids that contain THC and Vitamin E Acetate can be life changing, or even fatal.

The UK has one of the most rigorous regulatory systems for e-cigarettes and vaping products anywhere in the world. In addition to the issues with black-market e-liquids, many of the e-liquids produced in the US use chemicals that are banned here, such as; Diacetyl. 

Diacetyl has also been linked to several vaping related incidents and, although Popcorn Lung is extremely rare (even in the USA), it has a known connection to Popcorn Lung. Diacetyl is the chemical found in flavouring that produces a buttery taste an became synonymous with Popcorn Lung after workers at a popcorn factory were found to have bronchiolitis obliterans (Popcorn Lung) more often than most people.  Let’s be clear, vaping does not lead to Popcorn Lung.3  Diacetyl is also banned in the UK.


Regulated vaping in the UK is 95% less harmful than smoking.2 Heading to the black-market for your vaping supplies is equivalent to playing Russian Roulette. Why risk it?

The only way to protect your health is to always buy your supplies from a reputable retailer.  If you aren’t sure if the retailer is registered, you can head to the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) register to check. All reputable manufacturers list their products with the MHRA, who also operate a system for reporting any issues with vaping via their ‘yellow card’ programme.

NEVER head to the black-market for your vaping supplies, it’s not worth it.



  1. WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD (2019)
  2. McNeill, A. et al. Evidence review of e- cigarettes and heated tobacco products 2018. A report commissioned by Public Health England (2018).
  3. Article: Clearing up some myths around e-cigarettes, Martin Dockrell, Public Health England, February 2018

Joanne Emmerson FCIM
Head of Marketing, Ibiza Vape Club

Joanne is a fellow of the Royal Chartered Institute of Marketing and has 30+ years marketing experience. She has worked all around the world, is published in 7 countries and teaches marketing communication theory at Post Graduate level both in the UK and USA. She has worked alongside many government bodies, health organisations and national charities.