More than 1,200 illegal nicotine inhaling products were seized last week during a joint raid carried out on two shops in Southend by the city council’s Trading Standards and Essex Police.
The products, also known as disposable vape pens, have a retail value of around £7,000 and were allegedly being sold to children before they were seized by officers on Wednesday January 18.
Before a vape product can legally be sold in the UK it must be registered with The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) to ensure its safety. None of the seized products were correctly registered and were not manufactured to be sold in the UK.
Every non-compliant vaping product in the shops was removed and will be destroyed using a process friendly to the environment.
The owners of both premises were warned about the consequences of selling age restricted products, such as nicotine inhaling products which cannot be sold to those under the age of 18 and if caught, can result in a large fine or imprisonment.
Cllr Martin Terry, cabinet member for public protection, said: “Once again our Trading Standards team, working with Essex Police have taken dangerous and illegal items off the streets of Southend, while also protecting those underage children who were being sold these items.
“It is never OK to put the lives of our community in danger to make a quick buck. Although we cannot reveal the names or location of the premises involved, I want the general public to rest assured that our teams investigate every piece of intelligence they are given to make sure people stay safe.”
Vape pens are being sold from a large array of retailers including convenience stores, filling station shops and phone repair shops as well as the dedicated vape retailers. The packaging and the flavors available are currently attractive to children as a trendy accessory, however, the dangers of vaping are still not fully known as more research into these products is undertaken.