Public Health eNews

August 2014

Hertfordshire excels in under-age test sales of e-cigarettes

A recent investigation by Public Health England and the Trading Standards Institute into retailers that sell e-cigarettes to young people shows that none of Hertfordshire’s tested retailers sold e-cigarettes to under-18s.

Hertfordshire Trading Standards officers carried out 19 visits as part of the study, but none of these resulted in sales. This meant that the Eastern region was the only area in the study to achieve a zero per cent purchase rate.

Where retailers refused a sale, reasons included refusal following a proof of age request or outright refusal to serve a young person.

Whilst there is currently no legal restriction placed on the age at which e-cigarettes may be sold, the majority of these products carry a voluntary age warning that they are not for sale to under 18s.

Trading Standards officers have worked extremely closely with businesses in Hertfordshire to provide training and education on age restricted products. Many products do not contain a voluntary age warning so Trading Standards have been working hard to raise awareness of the issue so that retailers understand their legal responsibilities.

This positive outcome is real testament to the excellent partnership working between Public Health and Trading Standards colleagues to ensure that the health, safety and wellbeing of Hertfordshire’s young people is protected.

New powers in the Children and Families Act 2014 will allow for the introduction of a ban on selling e-cigarettes to under 18s, regulations that are subject to future consultation. This study was commissioned by Public Health England (PHE) to assist this work.


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