Trading Standards checks on nicotine vape sales highlight problems

A test purchasing exercise, organised by Dorset Council Trading Standards found that nicotine ‘vapes’ are being sold to underage customers.

a selection of electronic cigerettes or vapesDuring the checks a 15-year-old volunteer was able to buy the restricted items at three premises of the 11 tested. Investigations are continuing at those premises, and it highlights the need for more vigilance in protecting young people from nicotine and its addictive properties.

The test purchases were made as part of a response to information that vapes were being used in schools by under 18s. It is an offence for a business to sell nicotine vapes and e-liquids to anyone under 18 years old. It is also an offence for someone to buy them on behalf of an under 18. Advice had been provided to most of the stores tested beforehand, which were in Weymouth and Dorchester.

Cllr Laura Miller, Dorset Council Portfolio Holder for Customer and Community Services, said:

“While most businesses refused to sell, the results are still disappointing. We advise all businesses to make sure their staff are confident in asking for, and checking, proof of age.

“And that they have policies in place to challenge young people buying restricted goods, such as alcohol, tobacco or these vaping products.”

Chris Ricketts, Head of Programmes at Public Health Dorset said:

“Whilst vaping often plays an important role in supporting people to quit smoking, we are very concerned about the sale of e-cigarettes to under 18s and the marketing and positioning of products that makes vaping attractive to young people.  It’s great that fewer and fewer people are smoking nowadays, and it feels like the crippling effects of tobacco could soon be behind us, but we don’t want future generations unnecessarily addicted to e-cigarettes instead.”

Further advice on the law for businesses can be found on the Business Companion website . Dorset businesses can also call the Dorset Council Business Advice line on 01305 224701 or email tradingstandards@dorsetcouncil.gov.uk

To report a concern to Trading Standards or get advice on a consumer problem the first point of contact is the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 0808 223 1133.

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