Lincolnshire Trading Standards seize 5,000 illegal vapes
Lincolnshire Trading Standards has stepped up its efforts to crack down on non-compliant vapes being sold in the county. The service has seized more than 5,000 illegal vapes, which were either oversized, contained excessive amounts of nicotine, or were being sold to children. Of the 5,417 unsafe products that were removed from the market between April and December 2022, 5,062 were non-compliant vapes. These include vapes that exceed legal limits for nicotine content and the delivery dose, or “puff.” Disposable vapes should typically have around 600 puffs to comply with legal size limits, but some that were seized by Trading Standards were advertised as having up to 10,000 puffs.
Lincolnshire Trading Standards has been working with other organizations and members of the public to gather intelligence on premises selling illegal vapes. The service inspects these premises and seizes the products pending investigation. In addition, Trading Standards has sent letters to over 100 premises in the county to provide guidance on how to comply with legislation surrounding vapes. They also reminded traders that these products cannot be sold to under-18s.
Underage sales of vapes are a growing concern for Trading Standards services across the country. In Lincolnshire, 35 percent of the intelligence received around underage sales is now about the sale of vapes specifically. The service carries out underage test purchases at premises across the county, and roughly one in five results in the underage volunteers being sold vapes.
The county council has developed a new workshop to educate pupils on the use of vapes. The workshop has already been delivered to over 4,000 pupils. Mark Keal, Head of Lincolnshire Trading Standards, said that the popularity of disposable vapes has exploded over the last 18 months, and that many businesses that have started selling vapes have not sold nicotine products before. As a result, Trading Standards has advised these businesses on the regulations surrounding vapes to help them comply with the law. However, some unscrupulous businesses are knowingly selling oversized, non-compliant vapes.
Finally, Keal expressed concerns about the growing trend of young people vaping for the first time. While shops consistently ask for ID when selling cigarettes and alcohol, there appears to be a more lax attitude when it comes to vapes. Trading Standards is working hard to address this issue through education and enforcement.