November 4, 2023
Trading Standards officers seized over £17,000 worth of illicit vapes and tobacco products during three days of inspections conducted in early October.
The goods were seized across eight premises in Brighton and Hove.
The operation took place as a part of a systemic crackdown on the selling of illicit vapes and tobacco, and was supported by the members of the tactical enforcement unit from Sussex Police, a dog handler and officers from Thames Valley south east regional organised crime unit.
Trading Standards officers have previously carried out visits to local businesses to provide advice and guidance on the legislation surrounding vapes as well as underage sales.
Since then, a total of 27 businesses have been found selling illicit goods.
The council said the officers are now considering a range of enforcement options including closure orders, prosecutions and referrals to other agencies to deal with the illegal sale of tobacco and vapes.
“We are determined to continue our crackdown on the selling of illicit vapes and tobacco products and the selling of these to vulnerable young people,” Cllr Leslie Pumm, chair of the equalities, community safety & human rights committee, said.
“Local business owners have been briefed on the legal requirements regarding the selling of vapes and therefore should know better than to risk their livelihoods and the wellbeing of our residents.
“I would like to issue a stern warning to all retailers to ensure all disposable e-cigarettes, e-liquids and vaping devices they sell meet UK legal requirements and remind them about the age restriction on the sale of vapes.
“Anyone selling vapes to someone under 18 is committing an offence. The owner of the business can be held responsible as well as the member of staff who made the sale.”