Two thirds of vape shops in Gateshead have sold vape products to children, despite it being illegal to sell them to under-18s, a Trading Standards Inspection has revealed.
In a test purchase operation, four out of six shops in the area sold the nicotine products to a 15 year old volunteer, without inquiries into their age
In a test purchase operation, four out of six shops in the area sold the nicotine products to a 15 year old volunteer, without inquiries into their age. The test purchases that have taken place in the area were commissioned by the government’s Department of Health, and carried out by the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI). Legal action may be taken against the owners of the shops as further investigations are taking place.
Gateshead Council's Service Director for development, transport and public protection, Anneliese Hutchinson, said: "Nicotine is highly addictive which is why there are strict laws regulating the sales of nicotine inhaling products.
"Health experts consider e-cigarettes helpful in getting existing smokers to give up cigarettes, with the current consensus being that vaping is not without risks but is far less harmful than smoking tobacco.
"However, concerns are growing that children who have never smoked before are finding the branding and flavours of vaping liquids attractive, and they are becoming addicted. The law is meant to protect them, but it relies on retailers to enforce that law, and that doesn't seem to be happening.
"We are extremely concerned that young people in Gateshead are apparently able to buy a highly addictive substance so easily."
A nation-wide survey carried out by the CTSI showed a concerning increase in the number of vape shops and sellers selling products to children. Up to 40% of sellers were said to be making illegal sales to minors. Half of these sales were at e-cigarette suppliers, and the rest were sold at discount shops, car boot sales and markets.