Bradford shop owner pleads guilty to selling oversize e-cigarette to a child

Friday 1 December

On 30th November 2023, Mr Badir Shah of Bradford appeared at Bradford Magistrates Court to answer charges relating to the sale of an oversized disposable electronic cigarette to a 13-year-old child from his business, Phones and Vapes of 16 Beckside Road, Bradford, BD7 2JL. Mr Shah pleaded guilty to  committing offences under the Nicotine Inhaling Products (Age of Sale and Proxy Purchasing) Regulations 2015 and The Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016 and was fined £600 reduced to £400 for a guilty plea. He was also ordered to pay a surcharge of £160 and pay costs of £1028.

 

The case was launched after West Yorkshire Trading Standards Service received multiple complaints about the premises alleging sales of vapes to children. In April 2023 a 13-year-old volunteer entered the shop, under the supervision of a Trading Standards Officer, and asked to buy a vape. The volunteer was sold an eLux ENE Lemon Peach Passionfruit 3500 puffs electronic cigarette to the volunteer for £12.00, without asking for any identification, or challenging her age. It is an offence to sell an electronic cigarette containing nicotine to a person under the age of 18. It is also an offence to sell a disposable electronic cigarette that has a tank size which exceeds 2 millilitres, or approximately 600 puffs. Mr Shah, the owner of the business was interviewed later. In his mitigation he stated that he was not aware of the maximum volume permitted for disposable electronic cigarettes and believed the girl did not look under 18 years old.

 

David Strover, Trading Standards Manager - Business Services Team said, “the sale of vapes  to children should not be happening within our communities. We wrote to this business to make them aware of complaints we had received and informed them a test purchase may follow. The health risks associated with juvenile use of vapes should not be underestimated. Vapes are an adult product suitable for ex-smokers – the sale to, and use by, children are not acceptable.  Shops need to ensure they have systems in place to avoid selling vapes  to minors and train their staff accordingly. I would like to thank all the partners and members of the public for reporting illegal sales and encourage everyone to continue doing so to reduce the harm caused by tobacco and vapes in our communities.”

 

Councillor Sue Duffy,  Deputy Chair  of the West Yorkshire Joint Services Committee which oversees the work of Trading Standards said “ it is clearly irresponsible not to check the age of teenage customers wanting to purchase age restricted goods. Test purchases are undertaken regularly by trading standards staff to ensure shops adhere to the law on vapes, tobacco and alcohol sales. The simple task of asking for identification and verifying the age of younger customers will help to reduce underage vaping and tobacco use.”

 

Consumers wishing to report illegal trading practices, including the sale of age restricted goods to children can call the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline  on 0808 223 1133 to report their concerns  -  this can be done anonymously.