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    Campaign reveals e-cigarettes being sold to underage vapers

    Photo: iStock

    By Shelagh Parkinson, Local Democracy Reporter

    A Trading Standards campaign has revealed how easy it is for young people in Blackpool to buy e-cigarettes amid rising concern over the number of underage vapers in the resort.

    Ten premises in the town were recently visited by a 15-year-old girl who attempted to buy e-cigarettes containing nicotine, with none asking her for proof of age.

    The visits were part of a test purchasing exercise, led by the council’s Trading Standards team, which resulted in a 100 per cent failure rate.

    Businesses including shops, licensed venues and petrol stations were visited and could now face enforcement action.

    A repeat visit will be made in the next three months and if a second failure occurs the premises could be at risk of closure.

    Illegal vaping products were also seized by enforcement officers, while some vapes on sale were said to look like toys.

    “Not one of the 10 premises the team visited asked for proof of age. Businesses must do better,” Cllr Paula Burdess, cabinet member for public protection, said.

    “If they are unsure of the legislation regarding e-cigarettes, they can ask our team for help. No child should be able to walk into a shop in Blackpool and buy an age-restricted product.”

    A recent survey by HealthWatch Blackpool found 31 per cent of young people currently vape or sometimes vape.

    Dr Arif Rajpura, director of public health at Blackpool Council, said the research carried out by Healthwatch was prompted by rising concerns over the number of young people using vapes.

    “We found vapes appeared to be easily accessible for children and young people, the most commonly reported ways they acquired vapes being buying them at corner shops, vape shops and receiving vapes from friends and family,” he said.

    “E-cigarettes are an age-restricted product because there is potential for users to become addicted to nicotine-containing e-cigarettes.

    “Vaping is not a risk-free alternative, particularly for those who have never smoked and we do not yet know the long-term effects of vaping on health.

    “I was horrified to hear the outcome of this test purchasing exercise. Some of the products purchased were definitely branded and marketed to appeal to young people, one was even in the style of a fidget toy.”

    (Local Democracy Reporting Service)

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