Vaping Knowledge

Understanding the contents of your disposable vape stick

Vaping has become a prevalent trend in recent years, with many people using brightly coloured sticks to release fruity vapours in public places such as smoking areas, parks, and festival sites. Although the use of cigarettes is declining in the UK, vaping is on the rise, and while it is less harmful than smoking cigarettes, it still poses some risks. Unfortunately, there is little research available regarding its long-term effects.

So, what exactly is in a disposable vape stick? Here’s a list of the main ingredients used to make up these bars, without any judgment.


Nicotine is usually present in disposable vape sticks, with the maximum legal limit in the UK being two percent (20mg). This is equivalent to smoking about 48 cigarettes, but it is important to note that vaping exposes users to fewer toxins than cigarette smoking, and it does not produce tar or carbon monoxide, which are two of the most harmful substances found in tobacco smoke. However, nicotine can cause dry mouth, gum disease, and bad breath by reducing your saliva flow. It is also incredibly addictive, with withdrawal symptoms including cravings, irritability, anxiety, difficulty concentrating, and headaches.

Watermelon Elf bars were recently pulled from UK shelves after some were found to exceed maximum nicotine levels.

Vegetable Glycerin or Propylene Glycerin

These two fluids are commonly used as base liquids in disposable vape sticks and can also be found in cough syrup, toothpaste, and margarine. They carry nicotine into your body when they are vaporized. There have been very few studies done on the effects of inhaling these liquids, but one study found that inhaling vegetable glycerin can lead to lung inflammation. Further research is necessary to fully understand the effects.


Elf and Geek bars come in a wide range of flavours, from minty to sweet strawberry and watermelon. The taste comes from food-grade flavourings that are added to the liquid. Although not much research has been conducted on the different additives used in disposable vape sticks, more research is necessary to fully understand the effects. Some additives, such as diacetyl, have been linked to lung disease at high levels.

Difficult-to-Recycle Plastic

The casing of Elf and Geek bars is made of brightly coloured plastic. As the bars also contain a built-in battery, they cannot be disposed of in the usual household recycling. Consequently, thousands of disposable vape sticks end up in landfills. You can take your used disposable vape sticks to your local battery recycling point if you want to recycle them. Most supermarkets have battery recycling points, including the Sainsbury’s in Fallowfield, the Asda in Hulme, and the Lidl across from Whitworth Park.

Looking to Quit Vaping?

Dazed provides excellent tips on how to quit, including advice from Manchester-based Liam.


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