Most UK trade standards officials say selling e-cigarettes to children in stores is their biggest concern

A rise in shops selling e-cigarette products to children aged 12 has raised concerns among trade standards officials in England and Wales, according to a new study.

A survey by the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) found that 60% of local Trading Standards services were most interested in high street shops selling illegal e-cigarettes and e-cigarette products to children. rice field.

According to Trading Standards, the illegal sale of e-cigarette products by specialty stores, convenience stores and street corner stores has surged in the past year.

In the northeast of England alone, over 1.4 tonnes of illegal e-cigarettes have been seized in the last six months of 2022.

significant rise

The Trading Standards team in England and Wales reported a significant increase in sales of e-cigarettes to minors last year.

CTSI CEO Jon Herriman said:

“There is also a growing problem of e-cigarette products being sold to children in many common retail establishments such as cell phone shops, gift shops and convenience stores.

“The Trading Standards team is doing an important job of cracking down on unscrupulous retailers who sell these products to young people without legally required age verification checks. E-cigarette products protect public health. It’s important to follow the rules established to prevent it from ending up in the hands of children,” he added.

“Disposable e-cigarettes in particular are very cheap, brightly colored and appealing to children,” said David Mackenzie, president of Scotland’s Association of Chief Trading Standards Officers.

“Many age-restricted products related to cigarettes, cigarettes, fireworks and traditional e-cigarettes are being considered for sale to 16- and 17-year-olds,” he added.

But we had good information that either these were being marketed to much younger kids, or they were definitely in the hands of 12 and 13 year olds,” MacKenzie said.

1 in 10 children in the UK smoke e-cigarettes

Last year, doctors said after new statistics showed an increasing number of teenagers were being tempted to smoke cheap, sweet-flavoured e-cigarettes, even though the long-term effects were still unknown. He warned that generations of children could become addicted to nicotine.

Nine percent of UK 11- to 15-year-olds use e-cigarettes regularly, up from 6 percent in 2018, according to a survey conducted for NHS Digital.

15-year-old girls were most likely to use it, up from 10% in 2018 to 21% last year.

Larger studies have found e-cigarette use to be on the rise, but drug use and smoking are reported to be declining among young people.

E-cigarettes and e-cigarettes and their refills are regulated by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). According to UK regulations, products must comply with tank capacity and nicotine strength limits, and labels must display manufacturer details and health warnings.

A study by the European Academy of Pediatrics found that e-cigarettes contain numerous unregulated chemicals, including known carcinogens of unknown acute and long-term toxicity.

Professor Andrew Bush, director of the Imperial Center for Pediatrics and consultant pediatric thoracic physician at the Royal Brompton and Harefield Hospitals, told The Epoch Times that he is very concerned about children’s access to both legal and illegal e-cigarettes. He said that there is

“I am very concerned about the rapidly increasing number of children using these things, and their exposure to nicotine addiction, and how easily these things are accessible to young people. I am concerned.

“Advertising and flavored liquids are clearly targeted at young people. My concern is both legal and illegal arks. We don’t match,” he added.

Children of “Hooking”

According to Trading Standards, many of the seized devices flouted the rules, and some were designed specifically for children and young people, with packaging and flavors mimicking popular sweets brands.

The charity Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) has found that children are increasingly drawn to it. cheap disposable e-cigarettes There are candies, alcoholic beverages, energy drinks, and soft drink flavors.

Another ASH study published in July found that young people are influenced by social media sites such as TikTok and Instagram.

In response, TikTok said, “Content depicting or promoting the sale, trading, or offering of tobacco products, including e-cigarette products, is strictly prohibited, regardless of the age of the user, and was found to violate our Community Guidelines. All content will be deleted.”

Dr. Mike McKean, vice-chancellor for policy at the Royal College of Pediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) at the time, said that children “have bright packaging, exotic flavors and attractive names. They are being targeted by e-cigarette companies.” Without action, “generations of children are at risk of becoming addicted to nicotine.”

“Disposable e-cigarettes are becoming more popular among children and young people and are readily available at newsagents and candy stores. He said.

“These companies are only interested in ‘hooking’ children and young people for profit, with no thought or concern for their health or well-being,” McKean added.

PA Media contributed to this report.

Owen Evans

Owen Evans is a UK-based journalist with a particular interest in civil liberties and free speech, covering stories from a wide variety of countries.