Following guidance provided by Trading Standards to Denbighshire businesses regarding vapes and underage sales, trading standards officers have been conducting a series of test purchases across the county.
Test purchase exercises involve an underage volunteer, acting under the supervision of trading standards officers, attempting to purchase age restricted products which they are not legally old enough to purchase.
Operation Cloud targeted retailers selling e-cigarettes, visiting 29 premises across Denbighshire. Nine of those businesses failed to prevent the sale, as a 15-year-old volunteer was able to purchase an e-cigarette without providing identification.
In one of these premises, the volunteer was able to purchase an illegal vape which should not have been available on the UK market. This due to the amount of liquid within the tank, labelling issues and it not being a registered product with the Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Agency. This led to a substantial seizure of stock at the premises.
Councillor Win Mullen-James, Lead Member for Local Development and Planning said:
“It is illegal for anybody under the age of 18 to purchase an e-cigarette, and laws in relation to age restricted products are in place to safeguard young people.
“It is disappointing to see that nine businesses have sold these products to a 15-year-old. However, it is important to highlight that 20 premises correctly asked for identification and/or refused the sale. These products contain nicotine, which is a highly addictive substance and children should not be able to access these products.
“I am assured that Denbighshire Trading Standards will continue to visit any premises selling these products and the failed business premises will now be investigated, with appropriate action taken”.
Businesses can get in touch with Denbighshire’s Trading Standards Team for advice on vaping products on Denbighshire’s website .
The Council are also advising that if residents are aware of businesses in Denbighshire selling non-compliant vaping products, or selling them to underage persons, that they can report them through the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 0808 223 1133, for the Welsh language or 0808 223 1144, or online .