Burnley radio presenter, Jordan North, is to investigate the world of vaping in a new BBC Three show, which airs today (March 20).

Jordan, who has been smoking since the age of 16, started vaping a few years ago to cut back on cigarettes but now he is asking what is really inside our vapes in documentary, Jordan North: The Truth About Vaping.

Jordan, 34, said: “I started vaping a few years ago, like many people, to help me cut back on cigarettes.

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“I've tried so many times to quit and I found that switching to vapes really helped me cut down on my smoking, but then it was getting to the stage where I was vaping way more in a day than I was smoking the cigs [sic], and I thought to myself,  'Am I just replacing one bad habit for another?’.

“Then I started to hear some horror stories in the news so I really wanted to get to the bottom of the effects of vaping on my health and what's actually inside these little plastic things we stick in our mouths.

“I have a few friends who have never smoked before but now vape and say they are addicted, that’s something that started to concern me too.”

Jordan said he wanted to take part in the documentary to uncover the truth about the repercussions vapes can have on your health.

He said: “I had no idea what was even inside the vapes I use, or whether it was bad for me.

"Making the documentary gave me the chance to speak to some interesting people and find all that out.

“Recently, I’ve become more aware of quite negative press around vaping. There’s a lot of conflicting information out there.

"I think we’re all pretty confident that vaping’s less harmful than smoking cigarettes, but I don’t think it’s clear whether vaping still has a negative impact on our health, and if so, how bad that impact might be?

“I felt like it was time I found out, once and for all, whether I should be still be vaping or not.”

In an exclusive clip Jordan can be seen investigating illegal vapes that are being sold in high street shops. He said this was one of the most surprising things he discovered about the vaping industry.

“The amount of vapes available on UK high streets that are actually illegal to sell was really shocking,” Jordan said.

“Because they’re illegal, we can’t be sure where they’ve been manufactured, so don’t know what chemicals and other substances are inside them. It’s quite scary really.

“People are thinking they’re getting better value for money, ‘more puff for their pound’, but actually they could be causing serious harm to themselves.

“I particularly enjoyed filming with the Trading Standards team around Newcastle. We visited loads of shops in the city looking for vapes that re illegal to sell.

“I couldn't believe how many shops were selling them so blatantly, some weren't even hidden. It was a bit of buzz going into those places and seizing all the illegal vapes, I felt like Ross Kemp!”

Jordan hopes the documentary can help people make more informed decisions when it comes to taking up vaping.

He said: “So many young people who’ve never smoked cigarettes are vaping now, and I think, like I did, a lot of them probably think it’s pretty harmless.

"I hope the film helps people understand that whilst vaping can be a good way to give up smoking tobacco… there’s a good chance it’s still harmful to our health. We just can’t say for sure yet exactly how bad for us vaping might turn out to be.

“People need to know the facts, so they can decide whether vaping is a risk they’re personally willing to take. Especially if you’re vaping but not because you’re trying to quit smoking cigarettes.

“I hope by being myself, I’ve made a film that’s a straightforward but enlightening exploration into vaping, that cuts through a lot of the complicated science and politics around the subject - all the stuff that confused me and I’m sure many others too.”

Data from Inter Scientific, which tests illegal vapes seized by Trading Standards across the country, has revealed that 29 per cent of illegal vapes tested in their latest sample contained lead. This is almost double what was found last year (15 per cent in 2023).

Lead is a toxic metal. The World Health Organisation says high levels of lead exposure in young people can affect the development of the brain and nervous system.

In the new documentary for BBC Three and iPlayer, Jordan speaks to the team at Inter Scientific about the proliferation of illegal vapes across the UK, as he investigates what’s really in the vapes we use. 

Later in the programme, Jordan joins Newcastle Trading Standards as they conduct raids on shops selling illegal vapes.

Jordan hears that Trading Standards do not currently have the power to give on-the-spot fines to illegal vape sellers, and that about one in three successful raids in Newcastle involve repeat offenders.

While 45 million illegal vapes are thought to be sold in the UK every year, worth around three-hundred million pounds, criminal prosecutions of shop owners appear to be rare countrywide.

The programme contacted 100 councils and of the 81 that replied, only 95 businesses were recommended for prosecution in 2023, and only 41 were known to have received a fine.

Moreover, data from 70 councils shows a 1000 per cent increase in the number of vapes seized in the last two years.

Jordan North: The Truth About Vaping is on BBC Three at 9pm and is available on BBC iPlayer now.