Prime Minister’s announcement echoes long standing calls from the UK’s biggest vape trade body which also urges tough action on those selling illicit and illegal vapes.
The UK Vaping Industry Association welcomes the Prime Minister’s decision to get tough on those who sell vapes to children or sell illegal vapes and urges the government to introduce fines of up to £10,000 per instance for those who do so.
John Dunne, Director General of the UKVIA, said the new announcement echoes calls made by the UKVIA for more than a year and said it was important to tackle illegal youth vaping while also recognising the enormous value that vaping has in helping many addicted smokers quit cigarettes.
Dunne said: “The UKVIA fully supports the government’s actions to protect minors and urges the Prime Minister to ensure that this tough stance is followed up with equally tough action.
“For too long some rogue firms have felt they had free reign to sell a product designed to help adult smokers quit, to youngsters because they realised that the chances of getting caught were slim at best.
“Even if they get caught, the fines – which have been as low as just £26 – are no deterrent so we welcome the review into fines and repeat our calls that they should be up to £10,000 per instance and be backed up by a retail licensing scheme which would include age verification requirements and robust enforcement by Trading Standards departments up and down the country.
“Sadly, many Trading Standards departments are not resourced anywhere near enough to clampdown on the illicit and illegal vape sales and this is an issue that the government should now look at very seriously indeed.
“Data in the possession of the UKVIA shows that very few prosecutions have been made for under age or illicit sales across the country and this must be addressed as a matter of urgency.”
The Director General added: “Unless unscrupulous traders know that selling vapes to children is an endeavour which would be financially ruinous to them then they will continue to do so.
“We also welcome the announcement that the government are looking at the position of zero nicotine vapes and the UKVIA is on record, on multiple occasions, in calling for nicotine free vapes to be covered by exactly the same regulations which prevent the sales of nicotine vapes to those under 18. We hope that they will also now be included in the same testing and registration process that nicotine containing liquids and devices must undergo.
“We totally agree that there can be no justification in giving free vape samples to children – whether or not they contain nicotine – but any new measures the government does impose in this area must not impact on the tremendous work being done by stop smoking centres around the country.”