Home Brew Vape Shops – And The Problem With Them

When it comes to vape shops you typically have two types of shops – the ones that buy their juices in from manufacturers, and the ones that create their own juices. We fall into the first category, and for good reason. When it comes to vape shops selling their own “homemade” liquids, you might be paying a much harsher price than you think – the price of your health.

Smooth Vapourz buys our juices from the manufacturers, even our SV range is custom made for us by big producers, because the cost of creating our own juice in a room out the back would be immense. In fact, for a range of 10 flavours, it’d cost us anywhere from £900 to £9000 just for TDP testing, which every single juice, in every range, in every nicotine strength by law has to have. To recover costs for this testing most vape shops put up their prices of the juice, so you’d expect any bottle of juice to cost around £10 on the budget side of things. If you’re getting vape juice for under £5 from a “home brew” vape store, chances are they haven’t had to fork out for TDP testing and are running illegally. 

There are many issues with this, as thousands of chemicals that used to be used in vape juice concentrates before 2016 when the TDP law passed were banned because of the health risks they’re associated with. This was everything from colourings to flavourings.

The reason vape shops can offer juice cheap when they’re fully branded and bottled in a factory is because that factory will be selling hundreds of thousands of bottles throughout the UK, something that’s hard to do in a small town. 

They then have to be submitted to MHRA (the Medicine and Healthcare product Regulatory Agency) for another £210 per flavour and each juice will have their own MHRA number (you can check if a product has been approved by visiting https://www.gov.uk/guidance/e-cigarettes-regulations-for-consumer-products and looking at the submitted products). Just because a bottle contains the warnings and legal jargon on the label doesn’t mean it’s actually correct and legal – labels are easy to fake, especially if you’re printing your own label to begin with!

But even if the health and safety side of things is okay, there are other issues related to making your own juice in the back of a shop. 

Keeping consistent with concentrates is hard to do – typically the big companies can stay consistent by buying in huge bulk orders for their concentrate chemicals. Smaller home-brew shops can’t do this both financially and physically, because of the storage space. This means that they could be alternating chemicals or even adding too much of one thing and not enough of another. This leaves the vape juice inconsistent and isn’t great for the vaping experience. 

Also in terms of logistics, small vape shops won’t have the space to steep their juices. Steeping is an important part of the vape juice creation process where the flavours really develop and the chemicals bind – and it involves storing big amounts of bottles on shelves in a cold place, in the dark. Many manufacturers actually store their juice in fridges to keep the quality of their flavours high. The main thing is you need a lot of space and quite a bit of time. If a shop is creating juices one day and getting it on the shelves the next – this juice hasn’t been steeped and there’ll be very minimal flavour. Steeping can take weeks depending on what’s in the concentrates. 

In short – if you’re buying cheap juice from a home brew vape shop, chances are it isn’t TDP compliant and can contain banned chemicals that can cause things like Popcorn Lung as well as respiratory issues. 

If the shop is just a storefront with a back room, it’s likely the juices are low quality and haven’t steeped unless they have a big warehouse out of the back.

If they’re offering a wide range of flavours and don’t have many other shops or outsource their bottles, it’s likely that the product is being sold illegally. 

While you’re on our blog, you might find these articles helpful!
Nicotine Numbers and Which Strength You Need
How to clean your vape tank
How coils work and when to change them
How to make juice last longer
How to make Coils last longer
Why vape juice turns dark
MTL and DTL – What’s the difference?
Nic Salts vs Freebase: The difference and benefits
What happens when you quit smoking
Vaping: Twice as effective as patches and gum?
Using E-cigs to stop smoking
How to choose your first vape/e-cig
The Problem with Home Crew Vape Shops

Or you may like our new kit breakdown series “OUTTHEBOX” where we give in depth explanations of vape kits and an unboxing experience.

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