EXCLUSIVE: One in five Scottish shops tested sell vapes to children

Local Authority Trading Standards in Scotland test purchasing has found one in five Scottish stores were selling vapes to children, leading officers to up store advice and enforcement efforts

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The results published by the Society of Chief Officers of Trading Standards in Scotland (SCOTSS) on 14 August revealed that 63 out of 312 stores visited were caught out by underage test purchasing on vaping products. One in eight stores visited also failed underage test purchases of cigarettes.

The majority of the visits were ‘mainly’ intelligence-led, Better Retailing was told, so may not reflect the overall retail estate.

The findings were described as ‘significantly worse’ than expected, with SCOTSS blaming the problem on the widespread availability and ‘child appealing nature’ of vapes, especially disposables.

David MacKenzie, chair of Society of Chief Officers of Trading Standards in Scotland (SCOTSS), said: “These results are very concerning and we will be stepping up efforts this year to support sellers with advice, and continue to take enforcement action where sellers break the law.”

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Those selling tobacco and vaping products to under-18s can be issued with fixed penalty notices or banned from selling products. Alcohol licenses can also be revoked.

MacKenzie also called for restrictions on vaping products stating: “The bright packaging colours and sugary and fruity flavours are child appealing, and the easy availability of single use vapes in particular is not helpful. We would like to see the same display rules applied to NVPs that is applied to tobacco, ie they are kept out of sight in store.”

SCOTSS represents trading standards divisions in 31 local authorities in Scotland.

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