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Local retailers selling e-cigarettes to under-18s

vapingAn investigation by Staffordshire County Council’s Trading Standards team has found that some retailers are selling electronic cigarettes and vaping products to people under the age of 18.

As part of a countywide investigation, over 17 visits were made by young people under 18 to retail outlets with four visits resulting in a successful purchase.  Business owners in Staffordshire Moorlands, Lichfield and Burton have now all received advice on the correct selling of these products.

The Staffordshire operation was part of a wider national investigation by the Trading Standards Institute who visited 634 premises between January and March 2016.  Of the retailers visited, children aged 14 to 17 were sold vaping devices by 246 (40%) of retailers.

The national report also revealed that most of the illegal sales (68%) were made at markets and car boot sales. High levels of sales were also found at “other” premises, which included independent pharmacies, specialist e-cigarette shops and discount stores.

The report added that the fewest sales were made by national newsagents, petrol station kiosks and convenience stores, which are generally more experienced in the sale of age restricted products and more likely to question someone’s age and ask for proof.

Gill Heath, Cabinet Member for Communities at Staffordshire County Council said: “Our Trading Standards teams are working closely with businesses and retailers to make sure they understand the rules around the sale of e-cigarettes and vaping products.

“While the majority of businesses in Staffordshire are selling these products responsibly which is great news, we would remind retailers that there are fines of up to £2,500 for anyone caught selling them to anyone aged under 18. Our teams will continue with operations like this to help protect consumers and anyone with information on businesses selling these products illegally can contact them on 0300 111 8000 or the confidential hotline on 01785 330356.”

It is believed that there are over 2.1 million users of e-cigarettes in the UK and in October 2015, it became illegal for retailers to sell e-cigarettes to under-18s.

 To view the full report visit http://www.tradingstandards.uk/

 

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