According to the UK's National Trading Standards, more than 1.4 tons of illegal e-cigarettes and refills have been seized in a nationwide operation. The seized items were sold to minors illegally, with some of the products containing chemicals that are potentially harmful.
The operation was conducted by the National Trading Standards and the police and involved more than 400 shops across the UK. The illegal products were seized from shops in London, Birmingham and Manchester.
The products seized included e-cigarettes and refills that contained chemicals such as nicotine, diacetyl and other chemicals that can be harmful when inhaled. The products were also found to contain high levels of nicotine, which can be highly addictive and can have serious health implications for young people.
The National Trading Standards said that the operation was part of an ongoing effort to tackle the illegal sale of e-cigarettes and refills to minors. They have urged parents to be vigilant and to ensure that their children are not buying or using these products. They also warned that the products seized could be dangerous and advised people to only buy e-cigarettes and refills from reputable sources.
Trading standards officers from the north-east of England have seized a large number of illegal e-cigarettes, including those sold to children, that lack mandatory health warnings and contain nicotine levels well above official limits.
A total of 1.4 tons of illegal vaping products are currently being sent for destruction.
Much of the trade standards body's work has been driven by concerns about the sale of e-cigarettes to children. In March of this year, the organization conducted a procurement test on 32 retailers in the UK and found that 44% of them sold e-cigarettes to minors.
Ian Harrison, spokesman for the Trading Standards Institute, said: "Vaping poses a fraction of the risks of cigarettes, but the number of vaping devices we have seized demonstrates the scale of non-compliant products on the market. "
"Consumers should be more cautious when buying vaping products and choose reputable vaping shops. This is the best choice for people who want to use vaping to quit cigarettes. Trading Standards Institute will continue to ensure that the vaping market is regulated play a role in providing protection to consumers.”
Under UK law, all tobacco products, e-cigarettes and other vaping products must comply with strict tobacco control laws, including limiting nicotine content and pack size. Compliant disposable e-cigarettes have a maximum capacity of 2ml and a nicotine content of no more than 2%
Some of the vaping products seized in 2022 were up to seven times the legal limit. Many products were also incorrectly labeled, lacking information such as health warnings, batch details and details of potential hazards.
John Herriman, chief executive of the Trading Standards Institute, said: "While we recognize that e-cigarettes can be a useful aid for smokers to quit, we are concerned that breaches of the law appear to be increasing and many non-compliant e-cigarettes are being sell."
"The sale of vaping products to children is also a growing issue and has caused widespread public concern. E-cigarettes offer a much less harmful option for smokers who want to quit, but we need to ensure that the products we sell comply with UK regulations. Provisions."