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Bags of illegal vapes

Council cracks down on illegal sale of vapes to children

Three local retailers have been caught illegally selling highly addictive vapes to children, as part of a test purchasing exercise by Ealing Council’s trading standards team.

The exercise, which took place in April, involved a 16-year-old, accompanied by adult council officers, visiting 14 shops in Ealing Broadway, West Ealing, and Greenford. The child attempted to buy vapes, which contain nicotine – the highly addictive substance found in tobacco. Most of the shops (11 premises) refused to sell the vapes, but three sold the items to the child. Officers are investigating these cases, which could result in prosecutions.

A large quantity of illegal vapes were also seized from one of the premises. This follows a series of other vape seizures last year. The products, branded as ‘R & M Tornado’, contained nicotine with a tank capacity which exceeded the legal limit. The law states that the vape’s tank should not hold more than 2ml, which equates to roughly 600 puffs, or around 20 cigarettes. The seized products contained 7,000 puffs – equal to the nicotine content of around 233 cigarettes. They also failed to meet statutory labelling and information requirements.

Highly addictive

Vaping is subject to the same age restrictions as smoking, with laws in place to protect children and prevent the sale of any tobacco products to someone under 18.

Trading standard officers regularly visit local businesses to make sure they are complying with the law and are not selling age-restricted products to children. During visits, they remind businesses that test purchases may be carried out at any time and they will be prosecuted if they do not prevent sales to children.

‘There is still work to do’

Councillor Bassam Mahfouz, Ealing Council’s cabinet member for decent living incomes, said “Our trading standards team have done a brilliant job cracking down on the minority of retailers who are willing to sell these highly addictive products to local children.

“Although it is positive to see that most businesses were following the law and take their responsibilities seriously, this type of exercise shows that there is still work to do. For those who don’t act responsibly, let this be a warning. If you are tempted to break the law: you will be found out and we will always take the strongest possible action in response.”

Get in touch

If you have information on anyone selling illegal vapes, you can report it to tradingstandards@ealing.gov.uk

Businesses who would like advice on the rules regarding the sale of vapes can also email the council’s trading standards team.

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