A Preston shop owner has received a £166 fine after a staff member sold e-liquid and e-cigarettes to two underage Trading Standards volunteers.Advertisement
Lancaster Magistrates heard that the e-cigarette kiosk at EN Newsagents, on Orchard Street in the city centre, sold e-liquid to a 15-year-old volunteer on 9 August 2021 before selling disposable e-cigarettes to a 16-year-old volunteer on 19 November 2021.
Gulam Patel, who owns the business, was fined £166 and ordered to pay £275 in costs, with shop assistant Maqbul Hussain, who sold the products on both occasions, fined £130 and ordered to pay £275 costs.
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County Councillor Peter Buckley, the cabinet member for community and cultural services, said: “This case sends out a clear signal that we won’t tolerate anyone selling vaping products to children under 18.
“In many instances, we work with businesses to ensure they comply with the law and act responsibly. However, where necessary, we will not hesitate to prosecute, especially where previous advice is ignored.
“Our Trading Standards team will be continuing with test purchasing to ensure businesses are fulfilling their legal obligations. They are also on hand to provide advice and guidance to businesses that need support.”
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Trading Standards carried out the operations in response to a significant increase in complaints relating to the underage sale of vaping products.
It is a criminal offence to sell nicotine inhaling products to anyone under 18, including e-cigarettes, cartridges and e-liquids.
County Councillor Sue Whittam, the lead member for health, said: “Test purchasing operations are crucial in helping us clamp down on underage vaping product sales.
“For young people who don’t already smoke, vaping can be a gateway to smoking cigarettes, potentially beginning a habit that can be extremely damaging to their health and wellbeing.
“Some of these devices can also deliver very high levels of nicotine, which is also a concern. The low prices, fruity flavours and brightly coloured packaging of many of these products mean they can be appealing to under-18s.
“Taking enforcement action like this is crucial so we can limit opportunities for young people to buy them.”
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To report underage sales, contact Trading Standards via the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 0808 223 1133, or report it online – https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer/get-more-help
Businesses seeking advice on vaping products can also contact the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline.
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