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What Happens if Vape Shops Sell to Under 18s?

Aug 17, 2022

The popularity of vaping continues to grow. But alongside this, concerns remain about use of vaping devices by young people (under 18s).

They are after all, only legal to sell to over 18s in England. But there seems to be an increasing trend of young people taking up vaping – particularly disposable vapes. And thoughts that the bright colours and certain flavours are particularly attractive to young people.

What are the rules around the sale of vape devices?

In October 2015 it became illegal for

  • retailers to sell electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) or e-liquids to someone under 18
  • adults to buy (or try to buy) tobacco products or e-cigarettes for someone under 18

So as a vape shop owner or vape retailer, it is illegal for you to sell e-cigarettes to under 18’s. It will be your responsibility to ensure that this does not happen.

The law will cover both rechargeable and disposable vape devices.

What are the implications of selling to under 18s?

If you are found to have sold e-cigarettes, e liquids or cartridges to an under 18 then you will have committed an offence.

In these cases, both the business owner and the individual member of staff who made the sale can be held responsible.

Trading standards have the power to

  • issue fines and fixed penalty notices
  • pursue prosecution
  • if you are found to persistently sell to under 18s, then Trading Standards can make an application to a Magistrates Court for a restricted premises order and/or a restricted sales order. This can mean that either your business or a member of staff can be prohibited from selling nicotine inhaling products such as e-cigarettes for a defined period

Preventing sales to under 18s.

It will be important to take steps to prevent the sale of vaping and e-cigarette products to under 18s.

You’ll want to have a strict age verification process in place to prevent the sale of any e-cigarette related products to under 18s. It can be a good idea to have a list of the types of identification that you will accept. And take steps to check the identification to make sure that it is valid, and not a fake identity document.

You may also want to put signs up in your shop which highlight that sales of e-cigarettes are banned to under 18s.

Train your staff properly and regularly to always carry out these checks when selling e-cigarettes and vaping products. Check how regularly training should be carried out and how you can keep a record of which staff have received training and when.

If you sell online, you’ll also need to have age verification processes in place which prevent under 18s ordering your products.

As a vape shop owner it is vital that you keep up to date with all laws regarding sales of e-cigarettes and vaping products. It will also be important to have the right insurance in place for your business. The risks you face will be very different to that of a standard retailer for example. As an approved broker to the Independent British Vape Trade Association (IBVTA), you’ll be in safe hands with Anthony Jones. We are specialists in electronic cigarette insurance so are well placed to help you get the right. Speak to us today on 0208 290 9080 or email us at ecig@anthonyjones.com.

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