Stoke-on-Trent City Council’s Trading Standards Team has removed 3,338 illegal vapes, worth £43,394 from the market since January 2022.
The vapes have been seized as part of ongoing test purchasing exercises being carried out at premises across the City. Illegal vapes include those with tank sizes that are too large or which bare incorrect health warnings, as well as those sold to underage volunteers.
In some instances, officers have seized vapes containing up to 7,000 puffs, with the equivalent nicotine content of 600 cigarettes in just one vape. Vaping devices are highly regulated by the government to control the amount of nicotine. They also have to be approved by the Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Agency. The legal capacity of a disposable e-cigarette tank is 2ml or approximately 650 puffs.
As a general guide, if a disposable device offers more than approximately 650 puffs it will be illegal to offer for sale.
Councillor Carl Edwards, cabinet member for housing and environment, said: “Our team regularly carry out test purchases to check that premises are following their legal requirements. We will always take action against anyone found to be involved in the storage, distribution or supply of illegal vapes. The message is clear – you will face consequences if you deal in illegal vapes.
Councillor Lorraine Beardmore, cabinet member for culture, leisure and public health said: “While the NHS advise that many thousands of people in the UK have stopped smoking with the help of vapes, the appeal of products to minors who have never smoked is an ongoing issue.
“Vaping is not completely risk free and illegal vapes could be exposing minors to large amounts of highly addictive nicotine. Vapes are also packaged and marketed in a way that makes them appealing to minors, in brightly coloured packaging with a wide variety of fruit flavours.”
To report a premise selling illegal products or selling to under-age young people visit www.stoke.gov.uk.
Anyone who is looking to quit smoking can find advice at www.stoke.gov.uk/smokefree.