New figures posted by Trading Standards have found that 39 per cent of shops who sell e-cigarettes have done so to minors.
It became illegal to sell e-cigarettes to anyone under 18 after new legislation came into place in October last year.
Despite this the first study into the selling of nicotine inhalants since the legislation found that a significant number of retailers weren’t checking the age of the customers.
The outlets found to be disregarding this law included traditional tobacco retailers, discount stores, pharmacies, specialist “vaping shops” and even hairdressers. All of which could incur a £2500 fine for doing so.
634 spot checks were carried out across the country between January and March 2016, coordinated by the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI). The items purchased ranged from disposable e-cigarettes to rechargeable products, along with refillable liquids thought to be flavours which would appeal to children like bubblegum and chocolate.
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The rise in popularity of e-cigarettes among adults has made it leading method of quitting smoking in the country.
“Regular use among children is relatively rare, but children’s awareness of, and experimentation with electronic cigarettes is increasing,” CTSI’s chief executive Leon Livermore said.
Head of the Association of Convenience Stores (SCE) added: “These results are an important reminder that retailers must have strong policies in place on all age-restricted products.
“Convenience stores and other retailers have a strong record of preventing other age-restricted sales, but it is clear that the same systems are not being applied to e-cigarettes, which is still a relatively new category.”