William Eichler 30 May 2023

Crackdown on sale of vapes to children launched

Crackdown on sale of vapes to children launched image
Image: Mariia Masich / Shutterstock.com.

A review of the rules governing the sale of vapes to under 18s could make it easier for local Trading Standards to issue on the spot fines and fixed penalty notices.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak today announced a crackdown on retailers of vapes who target children.

The latest NHS figures for 2021 showed that 9% of 11 to 15-year-old children used e-cigarettes, up from 6% in 2018.

While it is illegal to sell vapes to children, under the current rules retailers are allowed to sell ‘nicotine-free’ vapes to under-18s and to hand out free samples to consumers regardless of their age.

The review announced today will consider banning the sale of ‘nicotine-free’ vapes to under-18s and the handing out of free samples to children.

It will also look in to making it easier for local Trading Standards to issue on the spot fines and fixed penalty notices.

The Local Government Association (LGA) recently warned that shops and other outlets selling vaping products has become a major concern for councils.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said: ‘The marketing and the illegal sales of vapes to children is completely unacceptable and I will do everything in my power to end this practice for good.’

Gillian Golden, CEO of the Independent British Vape Trade Association, said: ‘Selling products to under 18s has been illegal for some years now, as have proxy sales. Those who ignore the law bring reputable retailers who uphold strict age verification protocols into disrepute.

‘We welcome the planned review on bringing nicotine free products under existing rules and we look forward to continuing to support enforcement agencies in tackling illicit trade and illegal products.’

She added: ‘The loophole allowing free samples to be distributed regardless of consumer age is a gap that no self-respecting business should ever have considered exploiting. The IBVTA applauds the announcement that such activity will soon be illegal.’

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