Ealing Council’s trading standards team has caught three local retailers illegally selling vapes to children.
The retailers were caught as part of a test purchasing exercise that took place in April. A 16-year-old accompanied by adult council officers visited 14 shops in Ealing Broadway, West Ealing, and Greenford, and attempted to buy vapes containing nicotine, which is a highly addictive substance found in tobacco.
Most of the shops refused to sell the vapes, but three shops sold them to the child. The officers are investigating the cases, which could result in prosecutions.
One of the premises had a large quantity of illegal vapes seized. The vapes were branded as ‘R & M Tornado’ and contained nicotine with a tank capacity that exceeded the legal limit. According to the law, the vape’s tank should not hold more than 2ml, which is around 600 puffs or about 20 cigarettes.
However, the seized products contained 7,000 puffs, which is equal to the nicotine content of around 233 cigarettes. Moreover, the products failed to meet statutory labelling and information requirements.
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 ensure they are complying with the law and 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.
Councillor Bassam Mahfouz, Ealing Council’s cabinet member for decent living incomes, said, “Our trading standards team has 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.”