York's trading standards team seize Illegal vapes worth more than £13k

The trading standards team in York has seized more than £13k worth of illegal vapes and ordered for sweet-flavoured vapes to be moved from a shop’s confectionery aisle.

The City of York Council’s trading standards team targeted businesses selling oversized e-cigarettes with more than the permitted 2ml of nicotine liquid in what they have dubbed ‘operation hunter’.

Over two days trading standards seized 1,096 non-compliant e-cigarettes from three city centre businesses worth £13,152.

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In addition, following the Local Democracy Reporting Service revealing that B&M in York was selling sweet-flavoured vapes in its confectionery aisle, trading standards ordered them to sell them elsewhere in the shop.

Vapes seized by the City of York Council trading standards teamVapes seized by the City of York Council trading standards team
Vapes seized by the City of York Council trading standards team

Coun Jo Coles, executive member for health, wellbeing and adult social care, said: “High levels of nicotine in illegal vapes can be really damaging to our health, and no vapes are suitable for children, so it’s really worrying that shops in York have been selling them, and selling vapes to under 18s.

“Illegal vapes have no place in our city and we must ensure our children are protected from them.

“Huge thanks to our training standards team and the public who raised the alarm about this.”

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Matt Boxall, head of public protection at City of York Council, said: “We will always act on information from the public and will ensure that any items being sold illegally are removed from sale.

“The message to businesses in York is don’t sell them here.

“If you do, we will seize them.”

In December 2023, the Local Democracy Reporting Service revealed that cotton candy and strawberry ice cream were being sold in the B&M confectionary aisle of its Foss Island store.

Senior councillors responded by expressing concern, including Coun Jenny Kent, executive member for environment, who said: “It’s hard to see how anyone thinks it’s ok to market vapes to children near the sweet aisle, whether it is technically legal or not."

Coun Bob Webb, executive member for education and children, said it was "concerning to see products specifically for adults marketed in this way."

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On March 20, the Tobacco and Vapes Bill was introduced in Parliament, where children turning 15 this year or younger will never legally be able to be sold tobacco.

A council spokesperson said: “This will ensure that future generations are protected from the harmful impacts of smoking and save thousands of lives as well as billions of pounds for the NHS.”

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