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£50k of illegal tobacco and vapes seized in Longton

Published: Tuesday, 12th December 2023

Trading standards teams have swooped to seize illegal tobacco products from a local trader.

Last week Stoke-on-Trent City Council teams conducted another under-age test purchasing operation, where a test purchase for vapes was attempted at a business premise in Longton.

A R&M Tornado 9000 disposable vape was purchased by two male volunteers both aged 15 years old. Both volunteers were asked their age and when they advised they were 15 the seller continued the sale. In addition, the vape was 15 times the legal maximum tank size of 2ml which equates to around 600 puffs.

Upon inspection, after the sale a large number of illegal tobacco products and vapes worth £50,000 were seized after being found concealed on the premises.

Seized products included 11 different brands of cigarettes that were counterfeit, Non-Duty Paid, non-standardised packaging, and displayed incorrect health warnings. Seven different types of branded disposable vape were also seized which were oversized and had incorrect health warnings marked on the packaging.

Councillor Amjid Wazir, cabinet member for city pride, enforcement, and sustainability said: “We are deeply concerned about the prevalence of illegal tobacco and vape sales within our community, particularly sales to underage shoppers. The sale and distribution of these products not only violate national laws but also pose significant health risks, especially to our young people who are particularly vulnerable to the harmful effects of these substances.

“We urge all residents to be vigilant and report, and suspicious activities related to the illegal sale of tobacco and vape products to the city council. Your cooperation is essential in safeguarding the health and well-being of our community.

If any residents or businesses have concerns over the supply or sale of illegal tobacco or vapes they can report on 0808 223 1133, visit www.adviceguide.org.uk or call the council’s trading standards hotline on 01782 238884.

In addition, residents can download the free NHS Quit Smoking app or can access a range of support and advice that is available locally. Support is also available for tobacco users who are planning on using e-cigarettes to help to quit. For more information go to www.stoke.gov.uk/smokefree or contact the quit smoking service directly on 0808 169 1869.