Lincolnshire retailers fail vape selling test

One in four retailers in Lincolnshire has failed a test purchase of vapes, a rate significantly higher than that for alcohol or cigarettes, data has revealed.
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According to data from Lincolnshire Trading Standards, 27 per cent of underage test purchases resulted in a minor being sold a vape, compared with less than 10 per cent for alcohol or cigarettes.

This figure, however, is lower than the England average of around 33 per cent for vapes.

Since May 2022, Lincolnshire Trading Standards has seized 9,455 illegal vapes from 22 raids on shops in the county.

Balancing the benefits of vaping for smokers and the dangers to non-vapers is a complex issue. Picture: Aleksandr Yu/Getty Images/iStockphotoBalancing the benefits of vaping for smokers and the dangers to non-vapers is a complex issue. Picture: Aleksandr Yu/Getty Images/iStockphoto
Balancing the benefits of vaping for smokers and the dangers to non-vapers is a complex issue. Picture: Aleksandr Yu/Getty Images/iStockphoto

Letters have been sent to over 100 businesses selling vapes, reminding them of the laws around the legal size of the products and the age restriction.

Coun Danny McNally, Lincolnshire Council executive councillor for waste and trading standards, said many were unclear on the message and highlighted the importance of educating retailers about age-restricted products, as many of them have never sold such products before.

He said: “Everyone knows tobacco, 18 years old, that’s it and it’s all regulated, but vapes are just it’s a bit like someone chucks them together and just puts them for sale.”

The council has been proactive in addressing this issue, conducting workshops and sending out hundreds of letters to businesses to educate them about the laws surrounding the sale of vapes.

However, the problem persists, particularly among retailers who have not previously sold age-restricted products.

Balancing the benefits of vaping for smokers and the dangers to non-vapers is a complex issue.

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Coun McNally said: “It’s a difficult one because when they originally come out they were a thing to stop smoking, so it probably has its benefits in that respect.

“If you don’t smoke and you don’t vape, don’t start. It’s as simple as that.

Buyers may also not be familiar with the difference between legal and illegal vapes, further complicating the matter.

The council is hoping for a changing in law to issue fixed penalty notices, which would make enforcement easier.

The council is also working on educating the younger generation about the dangers of vaping.

They have conducted workshops in schools, reaching over 1000 pupils so far.

The hope is that by educating children early, they will be less likely to take up vaping as they get older.