Illegal e-cigarettes seized by trading standards
Officers from Gloucestershire County Council’s trading standards service have seized 1,500 disposable e-cigarettes being sold illegally from shops in Cheltenham and Cirencester.
The e-cigarettes, sold under brands such as ‘Puff Bar’, ‘Elf Bar’ and ‘Geek Bar’, did not show the required labelling including safety information and a warning to keep away from children.
They also failed to display details of the nicotine content and strength per dose or any traceability information such as batch codes or importer details, which are necessary if any items need to be withdrawn from sale.
As well as these failures, none of the items seized had been approved for sale by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) so their safety could not be guaranteed.
Officers first identified these items for sale across the county through mystery shoppers visiting businesses to check their products met legal safety standards.
Trading standards officers will work with these businesses in a process of engagement and education, to make them aware of items which should not be sold and help them identify legitimate stock that can be sold with confidence. They are also keen to work with anyone who supplies businesses in the county.
Sarah Scott, executive director of adult social care and public health, said: “In recent years, nicotine vaping products have become the most popular aid used by smokers trying to quit and they are far less harmful than cigarettes.
“Whilst they can be a really useful tool to tackle tobacco addiction, it is imperative that users have access to quality products that have been approved by the MHRA to ensure consumer safety.”
Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service advise only to use approved e-cigarettes and to never leave them unattended when charging.
Cllr Dave Norman, cabinet member responsible for trading standards, said: “This work is essential in ensuring that any vaping products placed on the market are legal and can be used with confidence. Hundreds of non-compliant e-cigarettes have already been removed from sale but there may be others out there.
“Anyone with information about the sale of illegal, disposable e-cigarettes or anyone looking for advice for their business can contact trading standards via the Citizens Advice consumer service or by calling 0808 223 1133.”