Worcestershire County Council Trading Standards team has seized illegal vapes from a number of shops.
Seven shops in various locations across the County including Worcester and Redditch were targeted on Tuesday 27th September by Trading Standards Officers to address the growing problem of illegal vapes. 1200 vapes were seized and removed from the market.
Vaping is becoming increasingly popular with young people and is replacing cigarettes as their product of choice. Brightly coloured, sweet-flavoured disposable vapes are very attractive and affordable at around £4.
Many of the products look like highlighter pens and are easily hidden in bags, pockets, and pencil cases. They are marketed with names like those used by popular sweets and fizzy drink brands.
All disposable vaping products in the UK are restricted to a maximum tank capacity of 2ml and a maximum nicotine strength of 20mg/ml. All the products seized were oversized.
Legislation also covers the safety, labelling and presentation of vaping products.
Councillor Marcus Hart, Cabinet Member for Communities for Worcestershire County Council said, “There are real dangers associated with shops selling counterfeit vape products.
Some of the vapes being seized also had more than the permitted level of liquid and failed to comply with the labelling requirements.
As the vapes are sold cheaply, they appeal to youngsters and encourage them to take up these habits which is something health experts would discourage. Whilst vaping is a useful step towards stopping smoking, it should not be seen as a harm free activity. The long-term consequences have yet to be assessed and we should not encourage nicotine consumption.
Hopefully, this operation has sent a strong message to the shop owners and anyone else selling illicit products that this will not be tolerated within our County.”
Investigations are now underway, each case will be treated on its merits. A range of sanctions are available from warnings to prosecution. The penalty for non-compliance is a maximum of 2 years imprisonment and/or an unlimited fine.
Residents can provide information by calling the Citizens Advice Consumer helpline 0808 223 1133 (anonymously if you wish) or via their online form or anonymously via the Trading Standards ‘Tip Us Off’ page on their website.