One North East town has been named as one of the illegal vape capitals of the UK based on search analytics.

Washington, Sunderland residents have one of the highest numbers of searches online for illegal vapes in the country, according to a study by

An average monthly search volume of 289 per 100,000 was recorded, which when compared to the town's population, equates to the town coming in 5th place.

Of Washington, the study said: "The town in Sunderland frequently searches for the ‘Crystal Pro Max’ vape, which accounts for 96 of Washington’s illegal vape searches, and 35 searches are for the ‘R and M Tornado 9000’."  

Guy Lawler, Managing Director of, said: “It’s incredibly concerning to see how illegal vapes are becoming more sought after in the UK, with many consumers having no idea that the products they’re buying are untested and potentially unsafe. 

“Retailers have a responsibility to adhere to UK vape regulations, but still, there are rogue operators, both on the high street and online, who openly sell illegal products and make no attempt to verify whether or not buyers are over 18. Enforcement by Trading Standards has been virtually non-existent in recent years, which allows these rogue retailers to continue operating with impunity. 

“Vapes are meant to help people quit smoking, but the ever-growing black market is putting people’s health at risk. Some of these non-compliant products even feature cartoon characters that attract younger people who should not be vaping.” 

In first place was Croydon in London, which racked up a search volume of 378. 

Two other North East towns were included in the top 20 - Gateshead in 14th place and Sunderland in 19th.


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Whilst the sale of disposable vapes is permitted, the government is soon set to ban them following a public consultation on smoking and vaping in January.

Currently, some vapes are illegal if the tank capacity is more than 2ml and the nicotine volume is more than 20mg - with the industry standard being around 600 puffs per vape.

However, some vapes claim to have a capacity for 15,000 puffs or more or an increased amount of nicotine inside.