New enforcement squad to crackdown on illicit vape sales

The new measures will see the squad undertake projects like test purchasing in convenience stores and vape shops across the country

The government is set to introduce an illicit vapes enforcement squad to deter rising levels of underage vaping and tackle illicit vape sales.

The new measures will see the squad, supported by £3m of government funding, undertake projects like test purchasing in convenience stores and vape shops across the country.

Health minister Neil O’Brien announced the new measures in his speech at Policy Exchange today, on 11 April, alongside a call for evidence to identify opportunities to stop children vaping but ensure they remain available as a quit aid for adult smokers.

The Trading Standards-led squad will have the power to remove illegal products from shops and at borders. It will also create guidance to help build regulatory compliance, whilst sharing knowledge and intelligence across regional networks and local authorities.

The health minister said: “Smoking kills, so our priority is to prevent people smoking, and support them to quit. We remain committed to our ambition to be smokefree by 2030. However, while vaping is a preferable alternative to smoking for adults, we are concerned about the rise in youth vaping, particularly the increasing use of disposable vaping products.

“The new illicit vapes enforcement squad will work across the country and clamp down on those businesses who sell vapes to children – which is illegal – and get them hooked on nicotine. Our call for evidence will also allow us to get a firm understanding of the steps we can take to reduce the number of children accessing and using vapes.”

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