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Darlington witnesses rise in underage sales of vape products

February 18, 2022


A warning has been issued following a spate of reports of traders selling vaping products to children. The Darlington trading standards team is becoming increasingly concerned at the number reports of disposable nicotine vaping products being sold to those under the age of 18.

The team has seen a steep rise in reports it has received from worried parents whose children have been sold these types of vapes, as well as reports from concerned retailers and other agencies. These have revealed some children gather outside certain premises because they know the traders are willing to sell these products to them without checking their ages.

These products are non-rechargeable, single-use devices that are pre-filled with e-liquid that often contain nicotine. Compliant devices are legal to sell in Great Britain, but only to those aged 18 or over.

However, they are quite often brightly coloured, have fruity flavours and closely resemble highlighters or make-up products, making them particularly attractive to young people.

Vaping puts nicotine into the body. Nicotine is highly addictive and can cause problems with memory, concentration, learning, attention and mood in children. The vaping liquids also contain chemicals which can irritate and damage the lungs as well as increase the risk of other types of addiction as adults.

Trading standards officers, with support from enforcement partners including the police, are already undertaking targeted inspections and stepping up patrols to identify and, where necessary, take action against traders who are deliberately flouting the law. Trading standards will also be offering legal compliance advice to traders who require it.

Dawn Taylor, trading standards and animal health manager, said: “I would like to make it abundantly clear to traders who are prepared to sell these age-restricted products to children, that trading standards will not hesitate to take enforcement action against you.”

Jonathan Dulston, the council’s deputy leader, added: “I support the positive action already being taken by trading standards and our partners to protect our young people and take traders, willing to break the law, to task.  It is also important that the community supports us in this work and reports under-age sales to the trading standards team as soon as possible.”

In addition to enforcing the law covering under-age sales of nicotine vaping products, trading standards also deals with age-restriction laws around the sale of such products as alcohol, tobacco, fireworks and aerosol paints.