28th February 2024

Test-purchasing in North Lincs

North Lincolnshire Trading Standards has targeted retailers selling vapes to children.


By JTS Staff
Journal of Trading Standards' in-house team
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While vaping can be a useful way for smokers to quit, it is important that non-smokers are not encouraged to start

Officers from North Lincolnshire Trading Standards have been conducting ‘mystery shopper’ inspections at shops across the region in the latest operation to clamp down on the illegal sale of vapes to children.

A 15-year-old volunteer visited ten premises which were chosen following intelligence and tip-offs from members of the public.

At three of the shops the volunteer was sold vapes — and in all three cases the devices purchased did not comply with UK safety legislation.

Enforcement action is now being taken against the businesses and letters will also be sent to the businesses that did not sell to the 15-year-old, praising them for their diligence.

Since 2022, North Lincolnshire Trading Standards has seized around 320,000 illicit vapes worth £2.5m and carried out four underage test purchase operations. Tens of thousands of illicit vapes are regularly intercepted at Killingholme port, but thousands more are seized from shops, including 484 in the past month.

Cllr John Davison, North Lincolnshire Council cabinet member for safer, stronger communities, said: “My thanks go to Trading Standards Officers, and the young volunteer, who are leading the clampdown on illicit vapes, and the unacceptable sale of vapes to children.

“While vaping can be a useful way for smokers to quit, it is important that non-smokers are not encouraged to start.

“There has been a worrying rise in the number of children using vapes, and we are determined to come down hard on unscrupulous traders. Our children must be protected.”

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