Council Launches Clampdown on Vape Sales to Children

Opposition politician wants parents to report shops making illegal sales

Illegal vapes confiscated by Ealing Council
Illegal vapes confiscated by Ealing Council

July 21, 2023

Wandsworth Council has announced that its Trading Standards Officers are to make unannounced visits to premises throughout the borough to crack down on the illegal selling of vapes.

It is illegal to sell electronic cigarettes or vapes to anyone under the age of 18 and there has been increasing concern that many shops in the borough are flouting this rule.

Any illegal or unsafe products found at premises are liable to be seized and traders found making illegal underage sales may be prosecuted and fined.

Earlier this year, a survey by the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) found that 60% of local Trading Standards services are most concerned about high street shops selling illegal vapes or vaping products to children. More than 1.4 tonnes of illegal vapes were seized in the last six months of 2022.

If you have any concerns about local traders, you can report them to Trading Standards by calling Citizens Advice on 0808 223 1133.

Lee Roberts, Conservative Parliamentary Spokesperson for Putney, Roehampton, Southfields and Wandsworth Town says he has been approached by concerned parents with evidence of retailers selling both vapes and unlicensed vapes to children as young as 13. To identify as many suspects as possible, he is now appealing to parents to contact him with information of any breaches.

Lee Roberts said, “As a parent of teenagers, I am very concerned about the explosion of vape retailing on our high streets. I accept that vaping can be effective in smoking cessation but question the marketing of products where colours and flavours seem deliberately targeted to very young people.

“Angry parents bring this up on doorsteps and have emailed me with concerns about retailers who are breaking the rules.

“If anyone has any information, please email me or call me in complete confidence and I will investigate. We owe it to our young people to protect their health and stop illegal sales”.

He adds that he will be raising this issue at a meeting with Superintendent David Bannister later this month.

He is asking anyone with examples of illegal vape sales – either to under 18s or the sale of unlicensed vapes to contact him at or text/WhatsApp/call 07368 911 490. He says all contact and information will be treated with the utmost confidence.

Nicotine vapes can help adults stop smoking and evidence shows vapes are significantly less harmful than smoking but adults buying vapes should check they are meeting safety standards and are legal.

Vapes should have:
• A maximum tank size of 2ml for an e-cigarette, which is about 600 puffs
• A maximum volume of 10ml for a nicotine-containing refill container
• A maximum strength of nicotine-containing liquid if present, 20mg/ml nicotine
• A clear health warning 'This product contains nicotine which is a highly addictive substance'
• Tamper-evident and child-resistant packaging
• Labelling which does not closely resemble foods, sweets, or resemble brand names/logos of rights holders.


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