• sciandenvironment

The Geek Bar Pandemic

Never mind COVID-19, the real pandemic is a £4 vape.


By Matthew Sheppard


E-cigarettes were originally introduced as a healthier alternative to smoking and a step between smoking and quitting. In recent times, however, vaping has become a habit of non-smokers, becoming a health issue on its own. In 2021, it was reported that there were 3.6 million e-cigarette users in the UK. Despite being much better for you than cigarettes, this does not make them safe.

Public Health England found that e-cigarettes are at least 95% safer than tobacco products as they do not produce tar or carbon dioxide. The UK has tight regulations on the manufacturing and selling of e-cigarettes to keep their use to a safe standard. However, a large aspect of the damaging effects of geek bars is that they have had such popular uptake with young people. The social media platform TikTok reported that children aged 12 have been posting videos about buying and using geek bars on their accounts. This worries many health specialists as the regular use of vapes could potentially affect their growth and development into later life.

A regular geek bar should contain around 20 mg of nicotine and is expected to last the duration of 500 puffs. Dr Onkar Mudhar spoke on geek bars on his TikTok account, stating that each contains the same nicotine volume as smoking 48 to 50 cigarettes.

A regular geek bar should contain around 20 mg of nicotine and is expected to last the duration of 500 puffs. Dr Onkar Mudhar spoke on geek bars on his TikTok account, stating that each contains the same nicotine volume as smoking 48 to 50 cigarettes. This already seems like a really high intake for one person to inhale in only one geek bar, yet some brands include an even higher volume. Geek Bar Pro, a legitimate American brand, contains enough nicotine to equate to 125 cigarettes. These have been sold in the UK market but do not meet the UK restrictions; since they are made for the USA, they can have higher nicotine levels. Obviously, this is incredibly dangerous, as that is a huge nicotine intake, and users are more than likely to buy multiple geek bars.

Due to their popularity, an even greater risk arises,with ‘fake’ geek bars that have been found in circulation. There is no knowledge of what unmonitored and uncertified manufacturers have put into the geek bars they have been making. These are much stronger and likely to not be sold at credible locations. Thus, this makes young people more vulnerable as they can probably buy them without getting any ID checks.

The long-term health effects of vaping are largely unknown compared to smoking as e-cigarettes are still fairly new. Because of this uncertainty, it is hard for restrictions to be made tighter and for users to be fully aware of the potential health issues and consequences. Some minor side effects of geek bars could include dry cough, shortness of breath and headaches. There have also been reports of users experiencing more harmful side effects, including nose bleeds and chest pain. Nicotine can also cause other conditions, such as gum disease, tooth decay and early tooth loss. It is expected that as our generation ages, the consequences of this fad will become prevalent, especially if one puff on a night out turns into a puff before you brush your teeth every morning.

There is no doubt that geek bars pose various health risks and long term, permanent consequences that are still not known. However, they remain a better alternative for you than a cigarette. While this article may not make you stop using them, do try to avoid buying an uncertified geek bar and check the packaging to see that it is TPD-compliant and from a credible retailer. The trendiness of geek bars may fade out, but for now, they will not be going anywhere, along with the phrase: “Is that grape?”