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Illegal vapes seized in Trading Standards swoop

On Wednesday 27 July officers from St Helens Borough Council Trading Standards seized a large quantity of illegal disposable e-cigarettes from a St Helens town centre vape shop.

Vape Vaping

Following a successful day of action in February tackling illicit tobacco sales in the town centre, during which vapes were also seized, residents raised concerns that a specialist vape shop in the same street was selling vapes containing too much nicotine liquid. 

The consumer watchdogs found that the shop was offering disposable vapes for sale online which contained far more than the 2ml of e-liquid permitted and there have also been complaints that they sell vapes to children under 18 years old. 

Whilst the illegal vapes were removed from sale on the website following advice, the shop continued to sell oversize disposable vapes containing the same amount of nicotine as around 15 packets of cigarettes from the shop premises.

Officers found that whilst the illegal vapes were not on open display in the shop, a large quantity of them were concealed in the rear of the shop and were being sold to customers who asked for them. 

E-cigarettes are limited to containing 2ml of liquid and no more than 20mg of nicotine per ml. They must also be authorised by the Medicines & Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency for sale on the UK market. Trading Standards seized over 1,100 vapes which were either too big, too strong or not authorised for sale.

Councillor Jeanie Bell, St Helens Borough Council Cabinet Member for Safer, Stronger Communities, said: "The sale of non-compliant e-cigarettes is a concern, particularly as Trading Standards are receiving numerous complaints alleging the sale of these products to underage people.

"The vapes are cheap and come in flavours and designs often attractive to younger people. Our officers have provided written advice to all shops in the borough most likely to sell these products and will continue to take enforcement action where illegal products continue to be sold."

If you believe a shop is selling illegal vapes, you can report it via Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 0808 223 1133 or by email to tradingstandards@sthelens.gov.uk.