Electromagnetic Concealment of Illegal E-Cigarettes

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    The Oxfordshire Council recently issued a warning regarding the proliferation of illegal disposable e-cigarettes across the county, raising concerns about public safety and the increase of organized criminal activity in the e-cigarette market.

    Rising Concerns and Enforcement Actions

    The council’s warning comes amidst a nationwide trend of growing concerns regarding the safety and legality of e-cigarettes, with over 10,000 illegal e-cigarettes seized in Oxfordshire alone.

    Criminal Tactics: Electromagnetic Concealment

    Jody Kerman, Head of the Council’s Trading Standards Team, highlights a concerning trend of criminal innovation where unscrupulous traders use electromagnetically shielded structures to hide illegal e-cigarettes, complicating detection efforts.

    Organized Criminal Activity

    Evidence suggests that organized criminal gangs are distributing illegal e-cigarettes, raising concerns about public health and safety.

    Rising Usage Among Teenagers

    Data from the Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) charity shows an alarming increase in e-cigarette usage among teenagers, highlighting the importance of strict enforcement measures and public education initiatives.

    Guidance for Identifying Illegal E-Cigarettes

    To help the public identify illegal disposable e-cigarettes, the council offers specific guidelines:

    • Nicotine Content: Check if the nicotine content exceeds 2% (or 20mg/ml).
    • Capacity: Verify if the e-cigarette capacity exceeds 2ml.
    • Usage: Determine if the device has been smoked more than 1200 times.
    • Packaging: Inspect if the packaging contains a UK address for the importer or manufacturer.
    • Health Warning: Ensure the health warning includes the exact wording “This product contains nicotine which is a highly addictive substance”.

    Health Implications and Public Safety

    Dr. Nathan Ley, Cabinet Member for Public Health, Inequality, and Community Safety, emphasizes the effectiveness of rechargeable e-cigarettes as smoking cessation aids for adult smokers.

    Adverse Effects and Addiction

    However, Dr. Ley warns against children or non-smokers using e-cigarettes due to the highly addictive nature of nicotine and its long-term health effects.

    In light of these developments, the council urges the public to stay vigilant and report any suspicious activity related to e-cigarette distribution.