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National tobacco survey published today

Posted 18/11/16

NICOTINE inhaling products like e-cigarettes and vaping fluids have for the first time been included in the annual National Tobacco Control Survey report, published today.

The report looks at compliance with tobacco legislation, which now includes nicotine inhaling products, and captures the activity of about 200 council trading standards teams.

According to the report 74% of all councils had for the first time conducted tobacco control activities in relation to underage sales of nicotine inhaling products.

Last October, regulations came into force prohibiting the sale of nicotine inhaling products to under-18s, bringing the law in line with that of traditional tobacco products.

However, the report also found that the overall number of councils that carried out traditional tobacco control activities in relation to underage sales had fallen by 17%, since last year.

Leon Livermore, chief executive of CTSI said that while regular e-cigarette use among children is relatively rare, children's awareness and experimentation with them is increasing1.

“More than 2.5 million adults use electronic cigarettes2 and evidence suggests the products are now the most popular quitting aid for smokers in England3.

“Although young people say their major source of cigarettes is being given them from other people, nearly half of young people admit buying their cigarettes from a shop.4

“Trading standards teams play a frontline role in preventing children from obtaining any type of cigarette product and will not hesitate to take enforcement action against retailers that flout the law.

“The law states that if you sell nicotine inhaling products to a person under the age of 18 the maximum penalty on conviction is a fine of £2,500."

Nicola Blackwood, the Public Health Minister, said: “It’s encouraging to see electronic cigarettes being included in the Tobacco Control Survey to make sure retailers are complying with the law.

“Businesses supported a minimum age of sale for these products and this is a helpful reminder of the new legislation.”

The report surveyed trading standards activity across 151 councils in England from, April 2015 to March 2016. Almost all councils completed the survey, returning a response rate of 98%.

Findings also showed that 59% of councils undertook test purchase operations but the sales levels were higher than for tobacco products at 36%.

In total, 877 visits to various premises were undertaken by volunteer young persons, with the majority of underage sales occurring at market stalls and car boot sales (61%).

The fewest sales at national newsagents (16%).

Businesses can access up to date information on the laws relating to nicotine inhaling products on government-backed website, www.businesscompanion.info


Notes to editors

  1.  Use of electronic cigarettes among children in Great Britain http://www.ash.org.uk/files/documents/ASH_959.pdf
  2.  Use of electronic cigarettes (vapourisers) among adults in Great Britain http://www.ash.org.uk/files/documents/ASH_891.pdf
  3.  E-cigarettes: a new foundation for evidence-based policy and practice https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/454517/Ecigarettes_a_firm_foundation_for_evidence_based_policy_and_practice.pdf
  4.  46% of young people report buying their cigarettes from shops http://content.digital.nhs.uk/catalogue/PUB17879/smok-drin-drug-youn-peop-eng-2014-rep.pdf

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