Shops illegally selling vapes to children severely jeopardises their health

According to Trading Standards experts, shops selling illegal vapes and the sale of vaping products to children are the top threats on the UK’s high streets.

In response to children aged between 12 and 13 getting their hands on vapes which flout current laws, the government is considering implementing stricter measures to protect young people.

In the UK, vaping products were previously used to help people stop smoking by limiting how much nicotine is consumed. However, a survey conducted of more than 400 Trading Standard Officers, displays some shops are selling vapes containing illegal amounts of nicotine and 12,000 puffs of e-liquid, when the law only permits around 600.

Trading Standards is a service which uses the information supplied to them to investigate unfair trading and illegal business activity.

As well as being filled with a dangerous number of substances, child health experts have said they are worried by the rise of young people and children adopting the habit of using e-cigarettes.

A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 99% of the e-cigarettes sold in assessed venues in the US contain nicotine, which can seriously harm the adolescent brain and lead to major lung problems.

Last year, a survey conducted by NHS Digital displayed the number of children in secondary schools who vape had dramatically increased, with almost one in five 15-year-olds using them in 2021.

Additionally, research reported by Ash, a smoking and health charity, found disposable e-cigarettes are now the most common used product amongst vapers, which has increased from 7% in 2020 to 52% in 2022.

In the survey, 60% of officers said their main concerns laid around children shoplifting vapes and the number of stores selling them to under-18s, which is illegal. Mobile phone shops, gift shops and convenience stores were most likely to be found selling the products to children.

Dr Helen Stewart, Officer for Health Improvement from the Royal College for Paediatrics and Child Health, said: ‘We strongly advise children and young people against using illegal and unregulated e-cigarettes, and call on government and regulators to stop the sale of these products.

‘If action is not taken soon, we run the risk of having generations of children addicted to nicotine.’

Alongside vaping casting serious health concerns amongst children, they have also been found to be extremely detrimental to the environment. An article published on Air Quality News outlines in-depth how vaping dangerously effects young people and the environment. 

Photo by Saiful Islam Shurov


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