Four in ten retailers flout the laws on nicotine inhaling products, study shows.
The Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) found nearly 40% of retailers illegally sold nicotine e-cigarettes and vaping liquids to children and young people since the practice was banned last year.
Under the Nicotine Inhaling Products (Age of Sale & Proxy Purchasing) Regulations 2015 that came into force last October it is prohibited to sell the nicotine products to under-18s, except under certain circumstances.
A total of 634 compliance tests were conducted between January and March 2016, which revealed an overall non-compliance rate of 39%.
Businesses tested ranged from independent pharmacies, specialist e-cigarette suppliers, discount stores and markets as well as traditional tobacco retailers.
Leon Livermore, CTSI chief executive, said: ‘Regular use among children is relatively rare but children’s awareness of, and experimentation with electronic cigarettes, is increasing.’
‘Trading standards teams play a frontline role in preventing children from obtaining e-cigarettes and nicotine refills, just as they do with traditional tobacco products,’ he added.
‘They provide guidance to help retailers comply with the law, but will not hesitate to take enforcement action where it is appropriate to do so.’
This news follows the recent CTSI study revealing trading standards teams had suffered due to Government cuts.
The report, published yesterday, found the total trading standards spend in Britain has fallen to just £1.99 per person, per year, with the total spend dropping from £213m to £124m.
Responding to the low non-compliance rate of retailers of e-cigarettes, Nicola Blackwood, the public health minister, said: ‘There was strong support for this measure from businesses when they were consulted and so, as the school holidays are upon us, this is a timely reminder of their obligations under these regulations not to sell nicotine products to under 18 year olds.’