Owner of British e-liquid company Blue Star E-Liquid, Rehise Khan, has been whacked with a fine just shy of $17,000 (£13,000) after being convicted for dumping 700 containers of an unidentified e-liquid.

Khan, who runs the company based in Bolton, near the northern England city of Manchester, was given a 26-week suspended prison sentence for the offence, highlighting just how serious illegally dumping substances is.

The fine primarily went to funding the clean-up operation. A total of 744 containers were discovered near where Blue Star was located, and with the liquid unknown, a hazmat officer had to be called to the scene to help initiate the response.

Ultimately, the overall damage was minimal, with Greater Manchester Fire and r Rescue Service determining the liquid to be non-hazardous. They first believed that it could have been propylene glycol, a common ingredient in e-liquids.

So why was this unusual liquid dumped by Khan? It turns out that he purchased the wrong chemical and needed to get rid of it. However, his unethical method of doing so could have been very costly had the substance been more dangerous (or, indeed, if it had been nicotine), and the fact that this story has even made it into the news is damaging for the vaping community as a whole.

Blue Star bring out the worst in vaping

Unfortunately, there are a number of emerging companies on the vaping scene who indulge in corner-cutting and cheap tactics – and they are doing a disservice to the vaping industry. Customers cannot be entirely sure of what they’re getting with bargain e-juices at microscopic prices, and confidence isn’t imbued when we see the lack of care and thought from companies like Blue Star.

The Bolton business’ website claims to offer a 10-bottle (10ml) package of their e-liquid for just £8 (around $10) which should already sound the alarm bells – the general lack of concrete information and the absence of a phone number should only heighten concerns. Their argument for the latter – so there’s no need of a call centre – simply doesn’t hold up.

That’s not to say that you can’t score some great vaping deals out there, but you’ve got to keep your wits about you. All industries have sketchy companies that make unrealistic claims, and e-liquids are no different. And, since you’re ingesting it, it’s even more crucial that your chosen brand is transparent and ethical.