POTENTIALLY DEADLY e-cigarette vaping cartridges are being imported into the UK via the dark web, Sun Online can reveal.
Our investigation has identified dealers who are selling the products containing cannabis oil that have been blamed for the deaths of nine people in the USA so far.
Some 530 people have also been hospitalised across the country by a lung disease – dubbed VAPI – which is thought to be caused by cutting agent used by counterfeiters to dilute the THC oil.
Vaping liquid containing the chemical THC, the psychoactive element of cannabis,is illegal in the UK but we found it within seconds of searching the dark web.
One so-called darknet marketplace contained dozens of offers to sell cannabis vape oil cartridges to buyers in the UK.
A dealer there was offering carts containing “super strong” blueberry skunk vape oil containing 98 per cent pure THC for £34.99 each with free delivery.
The same dealer was offering a deal of £100 for a pack of four carts or £500 for 20 mixed disposable THC oil vapes, which brought the unit price down to £25.
Another vendor, was offering “Cali Shatter Valley” cannabis vape carts for £40 each with free delivery.
In New York, investigators have subpoenaed three manufacturers of chemicals thought to be used a thickening agents in vape carts as the authorities move to contain the escalating vaping health crisis.
US investigators believe the fatalities may be linked to an oil derived from Vitamin E which is added to fake cartridges by unscrupulous backstreet dealers and sold in counterfeit packaging.
How safe are e-cigarettes in the UK?
IN the UK, e-cigarettes are tightly regulated for safety and quality.
They’re not completely risk free, but they carry a small fraction of the risk of cigarettes.
E-cigarettes do not produce tar or carbon monoxide, two of the most harmful elements in tobacco smoke.
The liquid and vapour contain some potentially harmful chemicals also found in cigarette smoke, but at much lower levels.
While nicotine is the addictive substance in cigarettes, it’s relatively harmless.
Almost all of the harm from smoking comes from the thousands of other chemicals in tobacco smoke, many of which are toxic.
Nicotine replacement therapy has been widely used for many years to help people stop smoking and is a safe treatment.
There’s no evidence so far that vaping causes harm to other people around you.
This is in contrast to secondhand smoke from smoking, which is known to be very harmful to health.
A study in the US has found that 78 per cent of e-cigarette “carts” containing THC in the States are potentially deadly fakes.
The probe comes just days after reports claimed the UK has had its first death linked to vaping.
Factory worker Terry Miller, 57, succumbed to a form of pneumonia linked to oil in the vapour he inhaled through e-cigarettes he used in an attempt to give up smoking.
His widow Glynis, 66, from Gateshead, Tyne and Wear, later warned vapers: “‘Don’t let anyone tell you they are safe.”
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A build-up of oil was found on Mr Miller’s lungs, which doctors said was due to his use of the vaping devices.
Alarm over vaping has been growing in the US, where 13 deaths and 805 cases of breathing illnesses have been linked to the habit.
Public Health England has not issued a health alert in England, saying the “evidence on the causes of the cases in the US is not yet conclusive”.
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