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Drug gangs grooming children with Vape Pens

It is being reported that children as young as 11 years old around the UK are getting approached by drug gangs. The children are being tasked with selling vape pens to their peers. On the face if it, this seems bad – but the reality is considerably more alarming.

As far as the children involved are concerned, they are selling vape pens to their friends and making a bit of money (of getting ‘free’ vape pens) for doing so. However, this is in fact a technique being used by drug gangs to prepare children to start dealing drugs for them.

The principles of children selling e-cigarettes to their friends are the same as them selling drugs:

  1. They’re selling something under the radar – because it’s not allowed (people under 18 years of age cannot legally buy vape pens)
  2. Because of point 1, they’re getting accustomed to avoiding detection from authority figures – teachers, parents etc
  3. They’re taking instruction from a gang or gang-leader


Vape pens, where missing the more poisonous elements of cigarettes, do still have one very important ingredient of cigarettes – nicotine. This highly addictive substance is why the sale of vape pens to under 18s is illegal and why drug dealers are finding it so easy to infiltrate schools and youth culture. The attractively packaged products, such as ‘Elf Bars’ appeal to younger audiences, get them addicted and give drug gangs a gateway to childrens’ buying habits. This will, presumably, in many cases lead to drug use on a larger scale in children and adolescents than we have ever seen before.


Evidence of the next step in drug dealers’ plans is already apparent and reported upon by ‘Edge North East‘ in Newcastle who claim that some children are so addicted to vape pens that they are collecting and delivering hard drugs in return for disposable e-cigarettes as payment.

Where relevant authorities are largely aware of these situations – at SMF Systems we are working with schools to ensure that rules condemning the use of vape pens can be enforced through prevention and detection. Although school is only one place where these activities can be clamped down on, we believe doing so will have a considerable impact on the penetration of drug gang control on the UK’s youth.

If the problems described in this article are causing you distress, please contact us, and we will try to help you with your situation.