Oxfordshire businesses prosecuted for selling e-cigarettes to children
Two Oxfordshire business have been prosecuted for selling disposable e-cigarettes to children, following investigations carried out by Oxfordshire County Council’s trading standards service.
Both businesses sold the disposable e-cigarettes, sometimes known as ‘puff bars’ or ‘vape pens’, to 16 year old test purchasers in March this year, despite the legal age limit for the sale of e-cigarettes being 18 and over.
Didcot Vaping Ltd, who trade as Didcot Vaping Store, pleaded guilty to selling an e-cigarette to a child and were fined £666, were ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £67 and the council’s full costs of £2,124.
Mr Jahngeer Hanif, 42, trading as Broad Street Supermarket in Banbury, also pleaded guilty to the same offence and was fined £600, was ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £60 and a contribution of £1,000 towards the council’s costs.
A third company is due in court in January 2023 in relation to both selling an e-cigarette to a child and for selling an e-cigarette that does not – despite a previous warning being given about the product in question – meet the UK packaging standards for e-cigarettes.
Councillor Jenny Hannaby, Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Community Services and Safety, said: “It is important that those people who want to use e-cigarettes to quit smoking have access to these products as they are one of the most effective methods of supporting a quit attempt. However, whilst e-cigarettes pose only a small fraction of the risk of traditional cigarettes, they are not risk free products and we do not encourage young people who have never smoked before to begin using them.
“Many Oxfordshire retailers work very hard to train their staff and implement systems to prevent the sale of such items to children under the age of 18. That said, anyone who does sell age restricted products but fails to make sure that they have taken adequate precautions should be aware of the potential consequences if they fail a test of this kind.”
Jody Kerman, Oxfordshire County Council’s Head of Trading Standards, added: “Prior to this test purchasing work taking place we visited all the business due to be tested to provide advice on preventing underaged sales. These visits also resulted in us finding thousands of illegal, disposable e-cigarettes, which have been removed from sale. We are now working with retailers to ensure that any devices they do stock in future are legally compliant.”
Further information for retailers on how to sell e-cigarettes responsibly, including details and photos of illegal products to avoid, can be found on Oxfordshire County Council’s website.
Anyone with information about the sale of illegal, disposable e-cigarettes or underage sales can email firstname.lastname@example.org
Despite a decline in smoking rates in recent years, smoking remains England’s single greatest cause of preventable illness and avoidable death. For this reason, Oxfordshire is aiming to be one of the first counties in England to go smoke-free – meaning less than one in twenty still smoking – by 2030. Stop for Life Oxon provides free support to people who want to quit smoking in Oxfordshire.
The sale of any kind of e-cigarette (disposable or not) to a person under the age of 18 is prohibited under Regulation 3 of The Nicotine Inhaling Products (Age of Sale and Proxy Purchasing) Regulations 2015 and an offence under section 92 (1) of The Children and Families Act 2014.
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