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In October 2015, a legislation was passed prohibiting the sale of nicotine containing products to under 18s. In an attempt to examine the local councils’ actions in enforcing this regulation, 877 minor volunteers were sent to points of sales in an attempt to purchase products across 151 councils in England between April ‘15 and March ’16, and the response rate was a reliable 98%.

59% of councils undertook test purchase operations and while as mentioned above 74% of councils had conducted the necessary tobacco controls to prevent sales to minors, the report pointed out that the the actual number of councils carrying out such activities dropped by 17%. The majority of underage sales, 61%, were found to take place at market stalls and car boot sales.

Safeguarding minors

In an article published earlier today on LocalGov, the chief executive of the Chartered Trading Standards Institute, Leon Livermore pointed out that while said e-cigarette use amongst children was relatively rare, awareness about the products is increasing across the country and so is experimentation. On the other hand more than half of youths admit to buying combustible cigarettes from shops.

‘Trading standards teams play a frontline role in preventing children from obtaining any type of cigarette product and will not hesitate to take enforcement action against retailers that flout the law”, said Livermore whilst adding that the fine imposed on anyone selling vaping products to a minor is of 2,500 pounds, (approximately 2900 euros).

Enforcing reasonable regulations

UK Public Health Minister Nicola Blackwood, said that it was encouraging to see e-cigarettes being included in the tobacco control survey, and hence monitored, adding “Businesses supported a minimum age of sale for these products and this is a helpful reminder of the new legislation.”

Businesses supported a minimum age of sale for these products and this is a helpful reminder of the new legislation.Nicola Blackwood, Public Health Minister, UK

Many health and regulatory experts on an international level are commending the UK for endorsing vaping products as smoking cessation tools, whilst actively carrying out further research related to the products, and enforcing the appropriate regulations, rather than adopting a forbidding stance such as the United States.