North East Lincolnshire Council’s Trading Standards team have carried out a series of inspections at a number of small retailers in the borough to assess the number of illegal disposable vaping devices on sale.
By law, these devices should have an internal tank capacity of no more than 2ml, and the level of nicotine contained in the vaping fluid should not exceed 20mg/ml (or 20 per cent).
As with tobacco products, these items are required to display certain health warnings and every such device, and the liquid it contains, should be registered with the MHRA (Medicines and Health care products Regulatory Agency) prior to being released onto the market.
Officers found that illegal unregistered disposable e-cigarettes were present in approximately two thirds of the retailers visited, with several hundred offending vaping devices being voluntarily surrendered or removed from sale with the co-operation of the retailers, who had been mis-sold the products by National Wholesalers and had bought them under the impression that they could be legally sold.
Whilst none of the products exceeded the maximum nicotine strength, they all had tanks that exceeded the maximum size, in some cases by as much as four times the permitted limit.
This issue is not confined to North East Lincolnshire and thousands of such devices have been seized by Trading Standards officers throughout the United Kingdom in recent months.
The Trading Standards team have liaised with their colleagues for the areas in which those wholesalers operate, to ensure that they are visited, advised, and the distribution of such goods is stopped.
Retailers have been reminded of the need to carry out due diligence on the products they are buying for resale, and their responsibilities regarding underage, and proxy sales.
As a general guide, if a disposable device offers more than approximately 600 puffs it will be illegal to offer for sale – many of the offending items found offer up to as many as 5,000 puffs.
Further advice on the sale of such goods for retailers can be found at www.businesscompanion.info/en/quick-guides/underage-sales/tobacco-and-nicotine-inhaling-products