September 10, 2022
Twelve out of 13 shops correctly asked teenage girls for ID and refused sale of e-cigarettes when they could not produce any during a test operation carried out by West Northamptonshire Council’s Trading Standards team last month.
Two 16 year-old girls, under the supervision of Trading Standards’ officers, visited the shops across Daventry and Northampton in order to attempt to buy e-cigarettes and cigarettes.
Only one shop sold an e-cigarette to a girl under the legal purchasing age during the operation. The shop made no attempt to ask for proof of age from the underage girl, and will now face further investigation, the council said.
“It is encouraging to see that 12 out of 13 shops stopped and asked this girl for ID when attempting to purchase tobacco-based products, however, this operation demonstrates that there is still work to do,” commented Councillor David Smith, Cabinet Member for community safety and engagement and regulatory services at West Northamptonshire Council.
“Asking someone how old they are, or making an assumption about their age is not enough. All shops must have policies in place to challenge young people buying age restricted goods, such as alcohol, tobacco or vaping products.”
All of the shops chosen for the exercise were the subject of complaints over underage sales, and the council reminded shopkeepers of the proof-of-age checks they must make before selling tobacco or e-cigarettes.
The vape and cigarette test purchases were part of an enforcement project supported by the Department of Health & Social Care that aims to ensure e-cigarettes or e-liquids are not sold to people under the age of 18.
It follows a previous operation in April, when one out of the six shops visited sold e-cigarettes to a 16-year-old girl.