Published Wednesday 10 February 2016 at 14:27
A group of Blackburn with Darwen shops have been caught selling e-cigarettes to children.
A total of five stores across the borough failed the checks in a test purchasing operation.
It became illegal to sell nicotine products such as e-cigarettes to under-18s in October 2015, with those ignoring the new law liable to be fined up to £2,500.
The offending retailers have all been issued formal warnings, advice and guidance and told to expect fines if caught again.
The operation involved a teenage volunteer going into shops and asking for items with nicotine in them. The focus was on electronic cigarettes, inhaling devices and refill cartridges and substances.
Of 10 premises visited, five sold the e-cigarette products. Of the sellers, none asked for ID and only one asked the volunteer’s age. When asked his age, the volunteer said he was 18 – the seller expressed surprise but then sold t6he product. One seller even offered to sell 3 liquids for £10.
Councillor Yusuf Jan-Virmani, Blackburn with Darwen Council’s Executive member for Neighbourhoods, Housing and Customer Service, said:
Our trading standards treat the welfare of young people as a priority and regularly take action against sellers of age-restricted goods to children including alcohol and tobacco, and now e-cigarettes.
Because these are first time offences the offending retailers have been issued formal warnings. Blackburn with Darwen retailers must ensure that they sell these products only to people who are old enough to buy them, or prepare to face the consequences.”
Also known as vaporisers or electronic nicotine delivery systems, e-cigarettes are often designed to look and feel like cigarettes, but were developed as an alternative to traditional tobacco products.
There are three main types: disposable products; electronic cigarette kit that is rechargeable with replaceable pre-filled cartridges; and an electronic cigarette that is rechargeable and has a tank or reservoir to be filled with liquid nicotine.
Most, but not all, electronic cigarettes contain nicotine.
There has been a surge in the number of users of e-cigs and the change in the law is intended to protect children.
Contact details for information and reporting in issues about under age sales of e-cigs: