Experts warn of ‘nicotine time bomb’ as kids turn to TikTok to illegally buy vapes

Underneath a video on a now-deleted TikTok account, an underage user commented, “If I get more money, will [you] hide the vape… my parents are strict.”

Another user replied: ‘I will discreetly wrap one for anyone not ID for £10.’

In response to comments asking if age identification is required to purchase the products, several sellers responded that it is not.

One vape account even seemed to be run by two teenagers. In response to a comment under a video, the owners of the account said, “We’re both 17.”

Sellers advertised different vape flavors, priced at up to £20, from ‘pink lemonade’ to ‘blue energy calypso’.

UK faces ‘nicotine time bomb’ for children

The findings have prompted the head of Britain’s biggest addiction clinic to warn that the UK is facing a “nicotine ticking time bomb” among children.

John Dicey, managing director of Allen Carr’s Easyway, said: “There is no doubt that there is a nicotine time bomb among young people in the UK who become addicted to nicotine at an early age and the promotion not regulated vaping on a variety of social media platforms (such as TikTok) makes young people easy prey for those selling drugs.”

After The Telegraph approached TikTok, Instagram and Snapchat for comment, the accounts were taken down.

A TikTok spokesperson said: “At TikTok, nothing is more important than keeping our community safe, especially when it comes to our younger users. We strictly prohibit content that depicts or promotes selling , dealing in, or offering tobacco, including vaping products, and we have removed any accounts that come to our attention.”

A spokesperson for Meta, owner of Instagram, said: “We do not allow the sale or advertisement of tobacco-related products on Instagram, and when we find content that violates these policies, we take action. We have removed the accounts brought to our attention.”

A Snapchat spokesperson said, “It’s against our policies to use Snapchat to sell vaping products to people of any age, let alone minors. In addition to removing any offending snaps or accounts, we restrict vaping-related search terms and do not allow advertisements that promote the sale of vaping products.

“We take prompt action when we become aware of violations of our policies and have removed the identified account.”

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