No holds barred enforcement and severe penalties need to be introduced by regulators to ensure the sale of vape products to minors is cut off at source, according to the sector trade body UK Vaping Industry Association (UKVIA).
The call by UKVIA follows recent reports which point to a rise in vaping among Scottish school children who have been able to buy disposable vape products online and from local retail outlets.
UKVIA wants fines increased to a minimum of £10,000 per instance for those retailers who are caught selling directly to under 18s. The move would help “to rid the industry of the scourge of rogue traders intent on making a fast buck out of kids at the expense of the safety of young people and the reputation of the wider sector” it said.
UKVIA has already worked directly with trading standards on retailer guidance to prevent youth access to vaping products, as well as assisting in operations in the field.
John Dunne, Director-General, said: “Enough is enough, the industry has a duty of care to young people. We need to send a strong message out to the minority of rogue retailers and wholesalers who do not care about breaking the law as they know they won’t get severely punished for doing so.
“The time has come to introduce heavy fines to deter rogue retailers from re-offending and putting vape products into the wrong hands. There needs to be consistency across the board and any regime that is introduced to stamp out underage access to vapes needs to be applied to all retailers, including specialist vape stores and e-commerce sites, convenience stores, supermarkets, and online marketplaces.”
UKVIA will be holding a consultation with its membership around future enforcement of age of sale regulations.