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New report shows fewer retailers sell e-cigs to children

Posted 21/01/17

Retailers that failed a national test purchase operation and sold nicotine inhaling products to children and young people are now fully compliant with the law, a new report has found.

The findings, published today by the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI), looks at business compliance with Nicotine Inhaling Products (Age of Sale & Proxy Purchasing) Regulations 2015, introduced last October.

The report is a follow-up of an initial review of businesses compliance carried out at earlier this year. Each business that made an illegal sale during the first review was revisited and re-tested.

According to the report, 80 per cent of the business that illegally sold in the first test purchase operation did not sell when tested again, and of those that did not sell 90 per cent asked for proof of age.

Leon Livermore, CTSI chief executive, said: "Although this review was conducted as a result of the disappointing level of compliance found in the first phase of compliance monitoring, it is encouraging to see a significant improvement with the businesses that previously failed.

“While regular e-cigarette use among children is relatively rare, children’s awareness of and experimentation with electronic cigarettes, is increasing.1

"Trading standards teams play a frontline role in preventing children from obtaining e-cigarettes and nicotine refills, just as they do with traditional tobacco products.

"This is a positive step in the right direction and shows that with the right guidance and support, businesses can demonstrate good practice when selling age restricted products."

Nicola Blackwood, the Public Health Minister, said: “It is really encouraging to see Trading Standards working closely with businesses to ensure nicotine inhaling products are not sold to people under 18.

“We all agree children should not have access to these products, and this work supports our view that they should only be used by smokers to quit smoking for good.”

Trading standards services across nine regions in England carried out follow-up work with businesses that illegally sold nicotine inhaling products earlier in 2016.

A total of 260 follow-up visits and tests were conducted between July and September 2016 with a majority of those carried out at specialist e-cigarette businesses, convenience stores and independent newsagents.

For the businesses that were tested during the secondary review, there was an overall non compliance rate of 25 per cent. The illegal sale rate of tobacco to young people under 18 is 10 per cent.2

The project was supported by the Department of Health and managed by the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI).


Notes to editors

View the report here: https://www.tradingstandards.uk/media/documents/news--policy/tobacco-control/nips2.pdf

  1. Use of electronic cigarettes among children in Great Britain http://www.ash.org.uk/files/documents/ASH_959.pdf
  2. Tobacco Control Survey can be found here 2015/16 https://www.tradingstandards.uk/news-policy/tobacco-control/tobacco-control-survey

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