100% success rate for Kendal retailers in covert Trading Standards operation

Westmorland & Furness Council’s Trading Standards service and Cumbria Police have praised retailers following a covert operation to test the sale of E-cigarettes products to under 18’s.

Acting on intelligence from concerned parents, schools and members of the public, the services visited 12 premises and found all retailers refused to sell E-Cigarettes commonly known as “vapes” to the underage test purchasers.

Strict laws on nicotine vaping products are in place so that young people cannot purchase them.  It is a criminal offence to sell them to persons under the age of 18 years, or purchase them on their behalf.  Traders found to be breaking these rules risk being prosecuted and fined up to £2,500.

Vaping is acknowledged as an important tool for quitting smoking, however, concerns remain about the illegal sale of vaping products to under 18s.

Disposable vapes can be appealing to under-18s due to their flavours and bright colours, along with prices between £4 and £8. E-cigarettes may contain nicotine which is highly addictive and young people who use these them may be encouraged to take up smoking in the future.

NHS figures for 2021 also showed that reported usage of e-cigarettes had risen to 9% among 11 to 15-year-olds in England, up from 6% in 2018. In the same period, vaping among 15-year-old girls jumped from 10% to 21%.

Trading Standards are also concerned about the alarming increase in harmful non-compliant products on sale in shops and welcomed new government proposals to crack down on the sales of e-cigarettes to under 18s.

A spokesperson from Westmorland and Furness Trading Standards said “Our staff work closely with traders to ensure compliance with the law and these undercover checks form a vital part of this process.

“All businesses should be asking for identification that proves a person is 18-years or older, such as a passport, driving licence or proof of age card, before selling age-restricted products to young people. Additionally, businesses should be vigilant and challenge any adults who may be purchasing age-restricted products on behalf of an underage person.

“The 12 traders in Kendal targeted during our recent covert operation should be commended for complying with the law and preventing the sale of these products to underage customers.”

To report underage sales of vaping products, or if you are a retailer seeking clarification of the law, contact Trading Standards via the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 0808 223 1133 or visit adviceguide.org.uk.


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