Posted on Tuesday 10th December 2019
Shops that sell e-cigarettes to underage customers are being warned they face court action after a tobacco store was fined for selling goods to a 16-year-old.
The case was brought by Staffordshire County Council’s Trading Standards service against Phoenix Tobacconist Limited trading as Huff and Puff, 25A High Street, Stone.
Magistrate’s at North Staffordshire Justice Centre heard how a 16-year old volunteer working with Trading Standards officers made the undercover test purchase of an e-cigarette refill on 30th April 2019.
This was the first prosecution of its kind in the county and follows the recent near tragic death of Ewan Fisher aged 19 from Nottingham, who suffered serious respiratory failure and nearly died. His doctors said an e-liquid triggered the respiratory failure.
It is illegal for under-18s to buy and use e-cigarettes.
Tony Shore, Trading Standards Manager at Staffordshire County Council said:
“This successful prosecution shows we take the selling of age restricted products to young people very seriously. We expect all retailers to operate within the law, which in this case is designed to protect children and young people.
"We recognise the benefits of e-cigarettes as an aid to quit. However, it is not appropriate for children under the age of 18 to be using e-cigarettes.
"Test purchasing operations are a good way to make sure that retailers have strong policies in place on all age-restricted products. Our trading standards team provide guidance to support retailers comply with the law. We will not hesitate to take enforcement action where it is appropriate to do so.”
The Company received a £1700 fine and were ordered to pay trading standards costs of £1993.50 as well as a £170 victim surcharge.
People looking for support on stopping smoking can get advice and support at https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/quit-smoking/nhs-stop-smoking-services-help-you-quit/
People can report instances of age restricted sales on 01785 330356.