Shops Caught Selling Vaping Liquid to Minors

A crackdown by Central Bedfordshire Council on underage sales of nicotine products uncovered three premises who were willing to sell them to a minor.

The council’s Trading Standards team undertook checks in Westoning, Toddington, Dunstable and Houghton Regis in five different premises on 28 November 2019, including four general convenience stores and a garage.

These premises were chosen as part of the test purchase exercise as they had either previously sold an age-restricted product to a minor or the council had received information about such sales from a member of the public. 

The team sent the 16-year-old volunteer into each of the shops and a garage and they attempted to buy vaping products without showing any form of identification. It is illegal for anyone under the age of 18 to buy or use them.

During the test, the volunteer was sold vaping liquid in three different premises. Following the checks, two of the shops who sold the liquid received a written warning from the team and the other has been asked to attend a formal interview.

Susan Childerhouse, Assistant Director for Public Protection and Transport at Central Bedfordshire Council, said: “There are very strict laws regarding the sale of nicotine inhaling products and I want people to feel reassured that we are monitoring these vigilantly and providing retailers with help to comply with the law.

“It is important that those that sell any age-restricted product remain vigilant at all times and remember to ID anyone who appears to be under-age.

"We will be undertaking future checks as part of our approach to age-restricted sales enforcement and where necessary we will not hesitate to take action.”

The Nicotine Inhaling Products (Age of Sale and Proxy Purchasing) Regulations 2015 came into force on the 1st October 2015 and created a new offence for the supply of a nicotine inhaling product (including E-cigarettes and associated products such as refills that contain nicotine) to a young person under the age of 18 years.

In the recently published report from Public Health England [PHE]; Vaping in England: Evidence update summary February 2019  it is stated that “whilst regular use of E-cigarettes remains low, in England and Great Britain as a whole, experimentation with the products has steadily increased in recent years.” 
PHE recommends that “surveillance is needed on purchase sources by young people.”

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