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Disposable Vapes: Ingredients & Components FAQs

Published 4 September 2023, Updated 10 April 2024

Disposable Vapes: Ingredients & Components FAQs

Do Disposable Vapes Have Urine in Them?

No, disposable vapes do not have urine in them. Disposable vapes are pre-filled with e-liquid, which has four main ingredients, propylene glycol (PG), vegetable glycerin (VG), nicotine and flavourings. As long as you purchase disposable vapes like Elf Bars from a reputable retailer, you do not need to worry about traces of urine, cat urine, or any other type of urine in your disposable vape.

The myth about disposable vapes containing urine originates from a study conducted in 2019 and published in The Medical Journal of Australia. The researchers of the study found traces of 2-amino-octanoic acid in a sample of ten e-liquids purchased in Australia.

As the researchers explained, 2‐amino‐octanoic acid is a metabolite occasionally found in mammalian blood, urine, and faeces. Its presence may indicate contamination by biological substances during manufacture.

Nicotine-containing e-liquids are illegal in Australia as they are classified as dangerous poisons under Schedule 7 of the National Poisons Standard. This prohibition has caused a surge in Australia’s vape black market, as reported by news organisations such as 9News and The Spectator Australia. The black market for vapes in Australia means that many e-liquids are manufactured at home in DIY conditions, which can lead to contaminants in e-liquids.

As e-liquids and disposable vapes are regulated in the UK, the contaminant risk is significantly less than that of Australia. As explained by the UK Health Security Agency in a blog post published by Martin Dockrell in 2018, the UK has some of the strictest regulations for e-cigarettes in the world, and all products must be notified by manufacturers to the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), with detailed information including the listing of all ingredients.

Do Disposable Vapes Have Lead In Them?

No, legal disposable vapes do not contain lead, but there have been reports of high levels of lead and metals, such as nickel and chromium, found in illegal vapes. To avoid exposure to harmful chemicals such as lead in your e-cigarette, you should purchase disposable vapes from a reputable retailer that only sells legally regulated vape products. While most disposable vapes have a metal coil, regulated vape products do not lead to lead poisoning or metal poisoning.

According to a 2023 investigation led by Hugh Pym and Lucy Watkinson at the BBC, some illegal disposable vapes collected by the BBC were found to have twice the daily safe amount of lead and nine times the safe amount of nickel.

The UK Government has created a new task force to combat illegal vapes. In a 2023 statement, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said, “Our new illicit vape enforcement squad - backed by £3m - is on the case, but clearly there is more to do”.

Do Disposable Vapes Have Diacetyl?

No, disposable vapes do not contain diacetyl, as this is a banned ingredient from e-cigarettes and e-liquid in the UK. Diacetyl is a chemical linked to bronchiolitis obliterans or 'popcorn lung', a serious lung disease observed among popcorn factory workers. It was previously used in e-liquids for a buttery flavour but is now banned in the UK. Disposable vapes, like Elf Bars, Lost Mary vapes and Crystal Bars, do not contain diacetyl.

According to Martin Dockrell, Tobacco Lead for the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities (Public Health England), the presence of diacetyl in e-cigarettes is a prevalent myth among the UK public. In a 2018 blog post for the UK Health Security Agency, Dockrell clarified that even at the height of its use in vape products, diacetyl levels were hundreds of times lower than those found in cigarette smoke.

Do Disposable Vapes Have Sugar?

No, disposable vapes do not contain sugar. Some disposable vapes may taste sweet as sweetening agents are often in the flavour mixture. These sweeteners are artificial and do not contain actual sugar. As such, disposable vapes, like Elf Bars, Lost Mary vapes and Crystal Bars, should not affect your blood sugar levels when you take a blood sugar test. 

Do Disposable Vapes Have Calories?

Yes, disposable vapes do have calories, typically ranging from 10-50 calories depending on the e-liquid capacity of your disposable vape. Disposable vapes contain vegetable glycerin and propylene glycol. These ingredients have about four calories per millilitre. So for a typical 2ml disposable vape, you can expect about 8 calories.

According to Food Insight, a non-governmental and non-profit organisation based in Washington DC, glycerin contains 4.32 calories per gram and is classified as a carbohydrate.

Disposable vapes are typically pre-filled with 2ml of e-liquid. So, at about 4 calories per ml of e-liquid, disposable vapes like Elf Bars, Lost Mary vapes, and Crystal Bars have about 8 calories per device.

Do Disposable Vapes Have Nicotine?

Yes, disposable vapes do typically contain nicotine. Nicotine is one of the four main ingredients of disposable vapes along with propylene glycol (PG), vegetable glycerin (VG), and flavourings. The majority of disposable vapes come in nicotine strength of 10mg (1%) and 20mg (2%), but the concentration of nicotine varies between different brands and flavours of disposable vapes. Some disposable vapes are available in nicotine-free versions.

Do Disposable Vapes Have Batteries?

Yes, disposable vapes do have batteries built in. The battery in a disposable vape is used to power the coil (or atomizer) which is responsible for heating the e-liquid to create the vapour that you inhale from a disposable vape. Some disposable vape batteries are rechargeable, but the majority are not.

The batteries inside disposable vapes are not dangerous as long as they are not tampered with. If you do tamper with the battery, for instance, when trying to recharge a non-rechargeable disposable vape, you increase the risk of electrical fires, short circuits and explosions.

Do Disposable Vapes Have Coils?

Yes, disposable vapes do contain coils. Coils, in the context of disposable vapes, are small pieces of wire that are wound into a coil shape. They are part of the heating element in the vape that heats up the e-liquid to produce the vapour that is inhaled. The coil is typically made of materials like kanthal, stainless steel, or nickel.

Disposable vapes often taste better because the coil in a disposable vape is always new and unused. This means that the e-liquid is heated evenly and efficiently, resulting in a cleaner, more flavourful vapour. Over time, coils in reusable vapes can become worn or clogged, which can negatively affect the taste. With a disposable vape, every time you use a new one, you're getting the fresh coil experience.

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