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    Illegal tobacco, vapes worth £50k seized from Longton store

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    Illegal tobacco and vapes valued at £50,000 have been seized from a shop.

    Counterfeit cigarettes and oversized vapes had been hidden at a retailer in Longton, said Stoke-on-Trent City Council.

    They were discovered after trading standards officers got two fifteen-year-olds to try and buy a vape. Despite being underage, the shop sold the vape to them, which was also 15 times the legal maximum tank size, added the authority.

    Products seized from the retailer included 11 different brands of counterfeit cigarettes, and seven types of disposable vape which were oversized and had incorrect health warnings on the packaging.

    The council was “deeply concerned” about the prevalence of illegal tobacco and vape sales within the community, particularly sales to underage shoppers, said Councilor Amjid Wazir.

    Earlier this month, Stoke-on-Trent City Council’s Trading Standards team carried out an intelligence-led, under-age sales test purchasing exercise recently across the city visiting nine premises with young volunteers attempting to purchase vapes.

    Whilst the city council is pleased to report that six businesses complied with the law and acted responsibly to prevent underage sales, it is worrying that three traders failed the test, and that illegal vapes and shisha were also being stocked and supplied at two of the premises.

    The majority of the disposable products seized contained oversized tanks, where products were advertised with as much as ‘9,000 puffs’ on its packaging. The UK Government has restricted e-cigarette tanks to a capacity of no more than 2ml where on average would provide around 600 puffs.

    Councillor Jane Ashworth, Leader of Stoke-on-Trent City Council said, “The efforts of our Trading Standards officers and volunteers were instrumental in achieving these substantial results. However, it is disappointing to see that three traders failed to comply by the laws and regulations in selling illegal products.

    “The city council is committed to continuing its work to create a safe and healthy environment for all its residents. We urge everyone in the city to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activities related to the sale or distribution of counterfeit and illegal goods”.

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